Did you wake up on the wrong side of a jail cell on New Year's Day thanks to a drunk driving charge?
If so, you probably weren't alone.
While the statistics for 2018 aren't yet available, data from 2017 used in an evaluation by SafeWise indicates that North Carolina is the 15th deadliest state when it comes to deaths caused by impaired drivers. Wyoming and South Carolina were the top two deadliest states in the nation, while New Jersey and New York were the safest.
A lot of people end up behind the wheel while impaired because they still don't understand what can result in an arrest. While it's totally illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher, you can be arrested without a Breathalyzer test if an officer decides that you are "noticeably impaired" based on observations about your speech, eyes, face, driving and any other factors that might indicate the use of drugs or alcohol.
In addition, both prescription and nonprescription drugs can end up getting you in trouble if they affect your driving. That commonplace warning that you often see on bottles of everything from sleeping pills to cough syrup that reads, "Use caution when driving," or something similar is serious. Far too many people take chances and drive when they're using medication that slows their reflexes and dulls their ability to make decisions.
Depending on the circumstances, a drunk driving charge in North Carolina can be either a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor (which is how most first-time offenses are charged), you face fines that range from $200 to $4,000 -- plus anywhere from a 24-hour stint in jail to a two-year sentence. License restrictions can affect you for 30 to 90 days.
The penalties for a drunk or drugged driving conviction are fierce, so do yourself a favor and talk to an experienced defense attorney. It may be possible to mitigate the charges or otherwise achieve a positive outcome. Our office is ready to talk to you about your case.