This page is dedicated to give quick answers on DWI questions. Some of the information is available on other parts of the website, but we placed it here to give you a quick reference on frequently asked questions.
Is DWI a felony or misdemeanor?
The large majority of DWIs are misdemeanors. However, some cases turn into felonies. If you are charged for Habitual DWI, that is a felony. In addition, some cases that would ordinarily be DWI can turn into a felony if there is an accident that causes death or injury.
Will I lose my license if I am convicted of DWI?
You will lose your license. A first offense results in a one year suspension. However, most people are eligible to apply for a Limited Driving Privilege immediately. Others have to wait for 45 days.
What if I have a prior DWI?
North Carolina increases penalties if you have a prior DWI. How much it effects your case depends on how far it was in the past. North Carolina looks back over the record of your entire life to determine if you have a prior DWI, but it gives special attention to convictions that occurred within the past 7 years.
How is punishment determined?
North Carolina uses a six level punishment scheme to determine sentencing. The punishment is determined by weighing mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors. Within each punishment level is a range of punishment.
What if I refuse to blow into the Intoxilyzer machine at the police station or jail?
When you refuse to provide a breath sample, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. The first is that you will automatically lose your license for one year. This is independent of your criminal case. So even if your criminal case is dismissed, you will still have to deal with the loss of your license. You can apply for a limited driving privilege after six months. The other thing you should be aware of is that an officer may be able to get a warrant and draw your blood even against your will.
How would a DWI conviction effect my future?
There are two major ways that a DWI could effect your future. For one, it will cause your insurance rates to go up dramatically. The other way it can effect you is through the permanent criminal record. The DWI conviction will follow you around and can cause problems for you for job applications, especially if you have a job that deals with driving. There is a third way that a conviction can hurt you: if you have a DWI charge in the future, it can be counted a prior conviction and can increase the penalties that you could be facing.
Why should I fight a DWI?
The question above mentioned the long term consequences of a conviction. Of these reasons, one of the most important is the insurance premium increase. This can be a huge increase in premiums; up to 300%. Some insurance carriers will even drop you and you may have to find another carrier.
When do insurance increases take effect?
An insurance increase should only take effect after a conviction. A charge alone will not effect your rates.
These are a brief list of the most common DWI questions. The answers are quick and to the point, but there is often a little more explanation in each of them. If you take the time to go through our site, you will get much more complete answers to common DWI questions.