9Jul 2015

What is ‘legally drunk’ in North Carolina

For drivers under the age of 21, the state considers them to be legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is more than .02, for non-commercial driver above 21 years old; they are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is more than .08. However, for commercial driver, they are considering to be legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is more than .04.

North Carolina Drunk Driving Penalties

In North Carolina, when a person is convicted of a DUI offence, a judge is required to hold a sentencing hearing to determine if there are any mitigating or aggravating factors that may affect the final ruling. During the hearing of the case, the judge will determine if there are any aggravating factors such as:

  • A previous DUI offense within 7 years of the current offence
  • If the offender’s driver’s license was revoked in a previous DUI offence
  • If during the previous offence the offender caused bodily injury to another person
  • If the offender had a passenger who is below 16 years during the offence

 
If the judge finds that only one grossly aggravating factor applies, level one punishment will be imposed to the offender. However, if more than 2 grossly aggravating factors apply, level two punishments will be imposed to the offender.

Levels of Punishment

  1. Level 1 punishment

The offender faces a prison sentence of 1 month to 2 years, with a fine not exceeding $4,000

  1. Level 2 punishment

The offender faces a jail term of 7 days to 12 months, with a fine of up to $2,000

  1. Level 3 punishment

The offender will be subjected to a jail term of 72 hours to 6 months, with a fine not exceeding $1,000

  1. Level 4 punishment

The offender will be subjected to a prison sentence of 2 days to 4 months, with a fine not exceeding $500

  1. Level 5 punishment

The offender will be subjected to a prison sentence of 24 hours to 2 months, with a fine not exceeding $200

The Point System in North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) awards point for ever traffic violation. If you accumulate too many points you risk your driver’s license revocation, suspension or cancelation, fines and driving restrictions. A DUI with .08 BAC or higher and your license is automatically suspended in North Carolina.

 

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