North Carolina is a strict state when it comes to laws against driving while impaired. Blood alcohol content limits are low: a maximum test result of .08 for adult, non-commercial drivers.
Commercial drivers have a limit of .04, and there is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21.
Refusing to take a chemical test
State law outlines different penalties for drivers who test above the limit and drivers who refuse the breath tests. Here is a brief overview:
- Refusing a test: 30 days of license revocation and an additional 1-year revocation after an opportunity to have a hearing
- Testing above the legal limit: 30 days of revocation and a 1-year revocation after a DWI conviction
The court could grant limited driving privileges in either of these cases. While the actual results depend on the handling of the case in question, the statutory rules are more lenient towards those who submit to chemical testing.
Driving intoxicated under 21 years old
Drivers under 21 face strict zero-tolerance laws for intoxication. There could be slight leniency in terms of the revocation period for those above the age of 18, but that would be at the discretion of the judge.
Further, underage defendants face a more strident standard of evidence. Even the smell of alcohol on their breath could lead to a conviction.
Defending repeat offenses
Those attempting to understand DWI limits and penalties should know that this is a complex system in which the details of a case are essential. For example, the penalties this article discussed would typically apply to first-time offenders. Those with prior DWI convictions could face more severe consequences.