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Know the penalties you face for DUI

It's fair to say that the consequences for a driving under the influence conviction here in North Carolina have far-reaching consequences. Let's review some of them.

First and most importantly, a DUI conviction can land an offender behind bars. In addition to the time spent in jail after the initial arrest (which, if the person doesn't have the funds to make bail, could be considerable) there could be a sentence imposed by the court. Depending on the number of times he or she has been convicted, the defendant could have to do time behind bars.

That alone is a serious consequence, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. DUI convictions in the state bring high fines and court costs. Those convicted will also have to pay to attend mandatory classes on alcohol awareness and safe driving. Sometimes an offender can be ordered by the court to go to rehab, which can be expensive..

Even when a conviction doesn't result in jail time, probation fees add up fast. Defendants can wind up paying monthly fees for a year or more in some cases.

Finally, those who get a DUI conviction in North Carolina will be forced to pay exorbitant rates for their car insurance over the next few years. North Carolina has the highest rates for post-DUI state-mandated auto insurance in the nation, with the median increase of 308.9 percent.

Insurance premiums jump up more than 300 percent due to mandatory surcharges through the state's Safety Driving Incentive Plan penalizing drivers who have been convicted of DUI.

For all of these reasons, it is wise to make sure that if you are facing a DUI charge, you seek experienced legal guidance as soon as possible.

Source: The Street, "Which States Hike Insurance Rates the Most After a DUI?," Brian O'Connell, April 15, 2016

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