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En Español : 919-747-3276
Arabic : 252-654-4852
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Reviewing DWI penalties underage drivers face in North Carolina

Perhaps you are a local college student looking forward to the end of the school year and starting a summer internship. Meanwhile, you have fun going to parties and various local events with friends.

You are not yet 21, but you enjoy the occasional beer. Therefore, this may be a good time to review the penalties for drinking and driving in North Carolina.

First conviction penalties

For a first DWI conviction, you will pay a fine of up to $2,000 and provide 24 hours of community service. You will also spend up to 24 hours in jail and, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could spend up to 24 months behind bars. You will lose your driving privileges for 30 days after which you will face driver’s license revocation for one year.

Second conviction penalties

If you are a repeat offender and your date of conviction falls within three years of a prior offense, you can expect to lose your driver’s license for four years. You will also spend a minimum of seven days in prison, which could extend to as much as 12 months depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. While a first offender is eligible for limited driving privileges, you will have no such opportunity if your current conviction takes place within seven years of the first.

Situations to avoid

If you are a driver under the age of 21, you are looking at a year-long license suspension if law enforcement finds that you, 1) purchased an alcoholic beverage, 2) helped someone else purchase alcohol, 3) used a fake ID to purchase alcohol or 4) drove a vehicle with alcohol in your system.

Seeking help

You do not want to try handling the consequences of DWI on your own. You need experienced representation if you hope to minimize the penalties or have your case dismissed altogether. Remember that as an underage driver, you have rights and are entitled to expect the best outcome possible following an arrest for DWI. After all. that summer internship is waiting.


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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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