2024 How Much Does a DUI Cost in North Carolina?

2024 How Much Does a DUI Cost in North Carolina?
2024 How Much Does a DUI Cost in North Carolina?
William T. Corbett, JR.

Driving under the influence in North Carolina comes with its own set of penalties. It can also come with a pretty hefty price tag. While there are fines associated with DUI, there are additional financial obligations that a person may not be aware of that may leave them wondering, “How much does a DUI cost in North Carolina?”

In North Carolina, these fines and costs depend on a number of different factors. The total amount can vary depending on the offense, prior convictions, and the severity of the charge.

North Carolina DWI Laws

In North Carolina, a DUI is commonly referred to as a DWI (driving while impaired). The law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher. This BAC level limit is 0.04% for those operating a commercial vehicle, such as a cargo truck or a mail van. It is also against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of controlled or impairing substances, such as opiates.

Fines for DWI in North Carolina

Generally speaking, North Carolina categorizes DWIs into different sentencing levels. These sentencing levels carry their own penalties that a person can expect to receive, including fines. These are broken down like so:

  • Aggravated Level One DWI Sentencing: This is the most serious offense. In this case, a judge has found at least three gross aggravating factors (serious factors such as serious injury or driving with a passenger who is a minor in the car). In addition to jail time and penalties, an offender can accrue fines as much as $10,000.
  • DWI Level One: This involves two gross aggravating factors. The fines and additional penalties can be as much as $4,000.
  • DWI Level Two: This involves one gross aggravating factor. Fines in this category can be as much as $2,000.
  • Level Three: Levels 3-5 will be determined at the discretion of the judge and depend on the factors of the case. In level 3, fines can go up to $1,000.
  • Level Four: Carries fines up to $500
  • Level Five: Carries fines up to $200

Other Contributing Financial Factors

Fines are not the only financial burdens someone can expect to have if they have been charged with a DUI. They may also have to pay for:

  • Legal representation: Hiring a DUI attorney is essential for those facing DUI charges. While this is likely going to be the costliest expense, it makes the most difference in the outcome of a person’s case. Legal fees vary based on the cost the attorney charges and the severity of the case.
  • Court Costs: Court costs cover administrative expenses such as filing fees.
  • Substance Abuse Programs: Some individuals convicted of a DWI will be ordered to participate in a substance abuse program. This will come at the cost of the individual. These programs include substance abuse assessments, educational classes, and counseling sessions.
  • Insurance Costs: If a person is convicted of a DUI, they can expect their car insurance costs to drastically increase. Insurance providers consider DUIs to be high-risk behavior so they will increase the cost if they consider you to be a high-risk customer.
  • Lost Wages: In some cases, a person’s employment can be put in jeopardy. For instance, if your license gets revoked or suspended, it can hinder someone from going to work. If someone is unemployed, a conviction can also affect future employment opportunities.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In many cases, a person may be required to have an IID installed onto their car. These devices require the driver’s breath to be tested before they are able to operate their vehicle. Their BAC must be below the legal limit in order for the car to start. This can be a costly expense as the driver must pay for installation, as well as monthly fees for usage and maintenance.


Q: How Much Does the First DUI Offense Usually Cost in North Carolina?

A: Even if a DUI is a first offense, the cost will still vary in North Carolina. If it is a first offense without any other serious circumstances surrounding the incident, it could be categorized as a level five offense, which carries fines of up to $200. If there are other serious factors involved, such as serious injury of another person, this cost will be considerably higher.

Q: Will You Go to Jail for the First DUI in NC?

A: In North Carolina, the amount of jail time, if any, a first-time DUI offender receives is based on a number of factors. It’s possible that they may only have to serve probation. However, there are other factors that could result in jail time, such as a significantly high BAC level, reckless driving, driving with a passenger who is a minor, causing property damage, or causing the serious injury or death of another person.

Q: How Long Does a DUI Last in NC?

A: Generally speaking, a DUI stays on a person’s record permanently in North Carolina. This means that the conviction will remain visible to law enforcement, employers, and others who perform background checks on the individual. Expungement is not available on DUI convictions, but there may be options if you were only charged, depending on the circumstances.

Q: What Are the Punishments for DUI in North Carolina?

A: Punishments for DUI in North Carolina vary depending on a number of factors. These factors include the severity of the crime, whether there were gross aggravating factors involved, and if it is the person’s first, second, third, or subsequent offense. Penalties include fines, jail time, license suspension and revocation, and installation of an ignition interlock device. A person may also be required to participate in certain classes and programs.

Contact a DUI Attorney Today

If you are facing DUI-related charges, it’s crucial to act quickly and seek representation that can help. The team at The Law Office of William T. Corbett, Jr. P.L.L.C. can help you. We can work hard on your case, navigating the complexities of the legal system to fight for a positive outcome for your case. Contact us today for more information.

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