DUI Law in Charlotte, NC
What Is a DUI?
DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.
Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.
Possible Consequences of a Charlotte, North Carolina DUI Conviction
Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get a Charlotte law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.
If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. According to The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the minimum fine for a first offense DUI in Charlotte is $200. The maximum fine is $1,000.
However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:
- Any damage to property while driving under the influence
- If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
- Cases that include child endangerment
- Any court costs associated with your case
Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in Charlotte. If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.
If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety guides you through the path to successfully completing probation. You’ll be expected to meet regularly with your probation officer, and submit to banned substance tests whenever asked. You also must abstain from alcohol, and stay within the confines of the state. Failure to abide by these expectations. Violating probation can lead to jail time, bigger fines, and the judge revoking your probation and causing you to serve your original sentence.
Drug and Alcohol Education Program
Following a Charlotte DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.
The Charlotte Behavioral Health and Intervention Center offers ADETS, Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School. This is a 16-hour program in a 4-day format. After completing the class, and any other court mandated community service, you can apply with the North Carolina DMV to have your license reinstated. There is a $100 restoration fee.
The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.
Suspension or Loss of License
No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.
If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.
What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in Charlotte, North Carolina?
If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:
Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With Charlotte, NC DUI Law
Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.
Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws
Charlotte, North Carolina has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case.
Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing
You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In Charlotte, North Carolina you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation states that you must request a hearing by mail and pay a fee of $425. This can be accomplished at 1 of the 3 DMV buildings located in Charlotte.
Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance
You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Charlotte. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.
Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration
You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.
Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina
Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across North Carolina state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!