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Will I Go to Jail for a DWI?

The potential consequences of a DWI  (driving while intoxicated) conviction can be frightening. Depending on your circumstances, you could face time in jail, hefty fines, a probation sentence, or even have your driver’s license revoked for a period of time.

dui arrest in north carolina

In some states, like North Carolina, there is also the risk of being labeled a convicted felon—something that can have implications for future employment and housing opportunities.

To understand what might happen if you’re arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, it helps to know more about the specific laws and penalties as they pertain to this offense. However, most people convicted of a DWI typically face fines, probation, and potential mandatory alcohol education programs.

In some cases, you may also serve time in jail as part of probation or another alternative sentencing program. Read on to learn more about what will happen if you’re arrested for a DUI.

Will I Go to Jail for a DWI Conviction?

If you are convicted of DWI, you may face jail time. However, jail time is not mandatory for a first offense. The judge will consider the severity of your offense and may sentence you to jail time, a fine, or both. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was very high, or if you were involved in an accident, you are more likely to be sentenced to jail time.

In most cases, a DWI conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension. The length of the suspension will depend on the facts of your case. However, if this is your first DWI conviction, you may be eligible for a restricted license after a certain amount of time. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, school, medical appointments, and other essential activities.

Factors That Affect DWI Sentences

There are many different factors that can affect the sentence given to someone convicted of DWI. Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense and can result in jail time, fines, and a revoked license. The sentence is often harsher for subsequent offenses.

However, there are some aggravating factors that can increase the severity of the sentence, even for a first offense. These include having a high BAC (blood alcohol content), causing an accident while driving under the influence, or having a prior DWI conviction on your record. A clean driving record may result in a lighter sentence, while a history of convictions can lead to harsher punishment. The judge will also consider the circumstances of the offense and the impact it had on others when determining the sentence.

DWI Defense Possibilities

If you have been charged with a DWI, there are a few defenses that may be available to you. If the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle, or if the field sobriety tests were not properly administered, these could be grounds for dismissal of the charges. Additionally, if the breathalyzer test was not conducted correctly or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was below the legal limit, this could also lead to the dismissal of the charges. However, it is important to note that even if one of these defenses is successful, you may still be convicted of DUI if the prosecutor can prove that you were impaired by alcohol at the time of driving.

Do I Need a DWI Lawyer or Can I Represent Myself?

If you are facing DWI charges, you may be wondering if you need a DWI lawyer or if you can represent yourself. While it is possible to represent yourself in court, it is generally not advisable to do so if you are facing serious charges. An experienced DWI attorney will be familiar with the law and will be able to provide you with the best possible defense. If you are facing serious charges, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side.

Contact a North Carolina DWI Lawyer

If you are facing a DWI charge, in North Carolina, getting an experienced North Carolina DWI lawyer is strongly recommended. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case. In addition, a DWI lawyer can help you understand the potential consequences of a DWI conviction, including jail time, fines, and community service. Dewey P. Brinkley is a top DWI lawyer out of Raleigh.

The sooner that you speak with a DWI attorney, the sooner they can start building your legal defense. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI, contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at (919) 832-0307 or by using the online form.

Are DWI Records Public in North Carolina?

If you’ve ever been arrested for anything, it’s very possible that anyone can find it with some online or offline searching. This includes being arrested for a Driving While Impaired(DWI). Therefore DWI records are public in North Carolina.

In  general, criminal records are considered public information throughout the United States. For example in Florida,  every arrest, including court dates, is a public record and easily accessible. Criminal records are available through courthouses as well as “people finder” websites. Using these third-party websites is frequently easier because the information is not limited to availability by locale. Employers may do a search on you if you are applying for a job.

The information from third-party websites can serve as a starting point for anyone looking for a specific record or several records on an individual. However online search sites are not government-sponsored. Availability may vary by the provider and some of the information may not be entirely correct.

Freedom Of Information

Are DUI Records Public in North Carolina?No matter what you’ve been arrested for, including DWI, anyone can learn about your arrest through a public record search unless it’s been expuncted from your record, meaning removed, also called “expunged” in some states.

North Carolina’s Freedom of Information Law allows the public to inspect and examine government-created records. State public criminal records are available in several databases in North Carolina. They are maintained by the courts and law enforcement agencies. These records are also accessible online and allow citizens to request copies for reasonable fees.

North Carolina’s court system also maintains a complete database of charges (arrests) and convictions made in conjunction with law enforcement agencies throughout the state. You can obtain certified copies by mail or in person, or by visiting a local police station.

Wake County utilizes the North Carolina Public Records Law, found at N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, further explains public records. North Carolina requires that public records are to be made available to the public for a nominal cost or for free, as well as via Internet accessibility. Online access to these public records makes things easier for the public and saves Wake County time, money, and resources.

Effects of DWI Arrest

If you’ve been arrested, you will be required to disclose it when asked on employment applications, as well as applications for credit, college, and housing. The exception is if the arrest was expuncted from your record. In the case of DWI, expunction is only possible if the case was dismissed.  Please note, North Carolina does not allow for expunction of DWI convictions.  Be forewarned that if you don’t tell the truth on your application, a background check will certainly reveal the truth for you.

Another direct impact of a DWI arrest is the marked increase in your insurance rates. As a newly branded “high-risk driver,” your rates will increase almost instantly after your arrest. Many companies will refuse to insure drivers who have been arrested for DWI and drop you entirely. However, there are companies that will insure someone who has been arrested, albeit expensively.

Employment

Depending on the type of job you have, it is possible you could be terminated after an arrest for DWI. This is particularly true if driving is a vital part of your job. Bus drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and other driving-centric jobs may, at the least, suspend you after a DWI arrest.

If you are terminated and need to seek new employment, it is possible to find additional employment. However, you will be ineligible for several different types of jobs, including:

• Jobs in which you’re required to drive
• Military enlistment and other government jobs
• Jobs that require the handling of very confidential information
• Jobs that require working with children, such as daycare and teaching

During an interview, it’s best to wait until asked about any arrests or convictions, but of course, don’t lie. Give a brief description of the circumstances that led to the DWI, what you’ve done since then to correct things, including rehab, and what you learned.
Your DWI defense attorney can advise you on your case and how to proceed with the employment.

Fight The DWI

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI cases. He will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email him at dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.