When it comes to misdemeanor driving while impaired in North Carolina, there are five levels a person could be charged with, with level five having the least serious penalties and level one having the most significant penalties. It is a good idea, however, to understand the penalties that follow all these levels, so that an informed defense can be made if you are charged with misdemeanor drunk driving.

If a person is convicted of level five misdemeanor driving while impaired, he or she could face a $200 fine and one to 60 days in jail. However, the court can suspend this sentence if the person spends a day in jail, does not drive for 30 days or completes 24 hours worth of community service.

If a person is convicted of level four misdemeanor driving while impaired, he or she could face a $500 fine and two hours to 120 days in jail. However, this sentence could be suspended by the court if the person spends two days in jail, does not drive for 60 days or completes 48 hours worth of community service.

If a person is convicted of level three misdemeanor driving while impaired, he or she could face a $1,000 fine and three days to six months in jail. However, the court can suspend this sentence if the person spends three days in jail, does not drive for 90 days or completes 72 hours worth of community service.

If a person is convicted of level two misdemeanor driving while impaired, he or she could face a $2,000 fine and seven days to 12 months in jail. The court is not allowed to issue a suspension of a person’s sentence for level two misdemeanor driving while impaired.

Finally, if a person is convicted of level one misdemeanor driving while impaired, he or she could face a $4,000 fine and 30 days to 24 months in jail. The court is not allowed to issue a suspension of a person’s sentence for level one misdemeanor driving while impaired.

As this shows, the penalties associated with misdemeanor driving while impaired can vary based on how serious the alleged violation of the law is. Those who are facing drunk driving charges should take the steps necessary to understand what the charges mean, so that a strong defense strategy can be formulated.

Source: ncdps.gov, “Driving While Impaired,” Accessed May 22, 2017