In North Carolina, it is illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol to the point that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of any substance that impairs their ability to drive. These substances could be anything from prescription drugs to illegal drugs. A driver who refuses to take the breath test that determines BAC can also be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). The legal limit for BAC is .08, and the aggravated charges kick in when the driver’s BAC reached .15 and higher. North Carolina also has a zero-tolerance policy, so it is illegal for any driver under 21 to have a BAC higher than .00.
A driver’s first North Carolina DWI offense earns a mandatory 1-year license suspension. The driver will also be required to attend a substance abuse assessment. If that assessment deems it necessary, the driver will also have to enroll in a treatment program. There is no mandatory jail sentence for first-time offenders. Second-time DUI offenders might face some jail time if their previous DWI was within the last 3 years. Their license will also be suspended for 4 years. An ignition interlock device is required upon restoration of the license.
When the police stop you for DWI in North Carolina, will they search your vehicle without a search warrant?
You are shielded from arbitrary searches and seizures under the US and North Carolina constitutions. In general, this means that the cops will need to get a search warrant before they can search your car. If a policeman arrests you for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina, there are several exceptions to this law.
When stopping anyone for DWI, there are a few exceptions to the law against unlawful searches and seizures that allow the police to search a car without a warrant. The following are some of them:
Searches are carried out as a result of your detention. The police may be permitted to search your car when you are being arrested for weapons or any evidence related to your arrest.
The trigger is a possibility. Police can search your car without a warrant if they have probable cause to suspect you are engaging in illegal activity or that there is proof of a crime in your vehicle. Finding something in plain sights, such as a gun or narcotics, smelling marijuana or alcohol in your car, or discovering your bloodshot eyes or an odor of alcohol are all examples of probable cause.
The act of agreeing to something is known as consent. The police would be allowed to search your car if you consented to it. You do not concur to a search of your vehicle because you will be giving up the right to appeal the search if evidence can be used against you is discovered. The fact that you refused to authorize a search without a search warrant cannot be held against you in court later.
When You’re Pulled Over, What Do You Do?
If the officers stop you, stay calm and courteous. Stop Off your car, roll down the window, and place your hands on the steering wheel, where they will be visible. When answering the officer’s simple questions, you can also say as little as possible.
DUI / DWI facts and statistics in North Carolina
- In 2017, 46 out of the 413 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
- In the same year, 190 out of the 30,277 offenders caught for DUI / DWI were under the age of 18
- In 2018, 38 out of the 421 driving fatalities due to DUI / DWI were driven by drivers under the age of 21
- In the same year, 141 out of the 27,915 offenders caught for DUI / DWI were under the age of 18
source: responsibility.org, fbi.gov
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