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You Were Charged with DUI. Now What?

— November 8, 2022

If convicted, drivers can face a range of punishments, from unsupervised probation and community service to hefty fees and loss of license.

If you’re in Raleigh, North Carolina, and were recently charged with a DUI, there are a few things to know. For starters, what should you do when you’re charged with a DUI in North Carolina? What is a DUI?

A DUI is often issued to drivers when police officers suspect the driver has been drinking. Upon suspicion of impairment, officers typically conduct breathalyzer tests to check a driver’s blood alcohol content. Drivers who refuse the test often have their license revoked for at least 30 days and their driving privileges revoked for one year. Depending on the circumstances around a driver’s refusal to take the test, they may be able to request a hearing with the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, drivers have the right to seek the assistance of an attorney with experience handling DUI cases.

What if you don’t refuse the test? Well, if you agree to the breath test, but happen to register a .08 or greater, your license is immediately revoked for at least 30 days and you must pay a restoration fee of $100. Depending on the situation, drivers may be able to petition the court for limited driving privileges after the first 10 days of the revocation period.

Things get more complicated if impaired driving results in an auto accident. When this happens, the impaired driver typically must submit to a blood test to get a more accurate reading on the blood alcohol content. If a driver refuses the blood test, the consequences are the same as refusing the breath test.

Will there be a Court Case?

The short answer is yes. However, most drivers charged with a DUI can expect a delay between 6 and 18 months from the time of being charged to their trial date in front of a District Court Judge. In North Carolina, there is no plea bargaining for DUI cases. A driver is can plead Guilty or Not Guilty, that is all.

If convicted, drivers can face a range of punishments, from unsupervised probation and community service to hefty fees and loss of license. Some drivers might even face up to two years in prison.

Drunk Driving Defendants Get No Sympathy in Court
Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash

When considering a conviction, judges in cities across North Carolina, from Raleigh to Charlotte, will consider every circumstance in each individual case. They will look at whether the defendant has prior DUI convictions, but only for a certain period of time. In North Carolina, there is something called a Lookback period. Under this rule, judges will only look back seven years for first-time offenders. The lookback period for habitual offenders is 10 years. Habitual offenders refer to drivers with three or more DUIs in a 10-year span. This is a felony offense in the state and carries prison time.

Final Thoughts

If you were pulled over while driving intoxicated, there are a few things you can do. First, you can choose whether or not to take a breath or blood test, but the consequences of refusing the tests could result in having your license revoked and having to pay large fees. Depending on the circumstances, you may get away with simple community service. More serious cases, however, could see prison time. If you’re unsure of what to do if you’re charged with a DUI, contact a skilled Raleigh, North Carolina DUI attorney. The right team can help ensure you get fair representation and understand your rights. Call for a consultation today.

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