While DWI penalties are harsh and are designed to keep North Carolina roads safer, many people who are charged with driving while intoxicated are the victim of inaccurate testing and unreliable law enforcement officer observations. The most important thing you can do after being arrested for drinking and driving is to contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DWI lawyer will do a complete interview to determine if there are critical issues with your case that will assist them in the defense of your case. Below are the potential punishments for first, second, and third DWI offenses.

First Offense DWI

For a first offense DWI, the punishments are as follows:

  • Minimum 24 hours jail time, but in some cases with aggravating factors, a minimum of 12 months is required
  • $200 in fines
  • A license suspension from 60 days to 1 year

Second Offense DWI

For a second offense DWI, the punishments are as follows:

  • Minimum 4 days jail time, but in some cases with aggravating factors, a minimum of 12 months is required
  • Fines vary for second offense DWI’s, but are no less than $200
  • A license suspension from 1-4 years if the previous DWI was within 3 years of the second offense
  • Ignition interlock device is required


Third Offense DWI

For a third offense DWI, the punishments are as follows:

  • Minimum 14-30 days jail time, but in some cases with aggravating factors, a minimum of 12 months is required
  • Fines vary for a third offense DWI
  • Minimum 1 year license suspension, but if the last previous offense was within 5 years of the third offense, a permanent license suspension may be instated
  • Ignition interlock device is required

North Carolina’s Lookback Period

Like many other states, North Carolina has a “lookback period” that is used to determine whether a DWI is a subsequent offense. The lookback period in this state is 7 years, meaning that if a second DWI arrest is made within 7 years of the first, it will be charged as a second DWI. If a second DWI arrest is made more than 7 years after the first, it will be charged as a first DWI.

Limited Driving Privileges

In North Carolina, your arrest for DWI will automatically lead to a suspension of your driver’s license for  30 days. This is called a civil revocation.  You can get a limited driving privilege 10 days after your arrest if you get a DWI Substance Abuse Assessment.  Otherwise, you can pick up your driver;s license at the clerk of court’s office after 30 days and paying a reinstatement fee.

If you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, you will loose your right to drive for at least one year and a limited driving privilege can help you sustain your employment and continue to provide for your family.

Contact the Law Office of Fred D. Webb, Jr. Today

A DWI can not only cause you to incur significant penalties, it can have a serious impact on your criminal and driving record. Get the zealous legal defense you need right away by contacting the Law Office of Fred D. Webb, Jr. Attorney Webb will aggressively defend your rights under the law and will evaluate every option available to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Call today for a consultation at (919) 775-1212.