A first-time DWI: What do you need to know?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

It may be the last thing you expected after one glass of wine with dinner, but the police pulled you over for speeding – and now you are facing charges of driving while impaired. Even if you did not feel impaired, the presence of alcohol in your system can lead to these charges.

If this is a first-time DWI charge, it can be overwhelmingly stressful. What are the risks of a first-time offense?

More than criminal penalties are on the line

You may be fully aware that you could face criminal penalties. Under North Carolina law, even a Level V DWI – which is the least serious offense – can involve various criminal penalties, including:

  • Jail time
  • Financial penalties
  • Community service

However, you could face more consequences than criminal penalties. These offenses often lead to license suspensions or revocations, and even more fines at the administrative level as well.

The effects could be long-lasting

The effects of a first-time DWI conviction can linger for quite some time on many levels, including:

  • Penalty-wise: License suspensions or revocations can often last up to one year. Losing the convenience of a license can be stressful, and make commutes and any travel time significantly longer if you must rely on rideshares or public transportation. On top of that, North Carolina often requires you to attend some sort of substance use program or treatment after a DWI conviction, so you will have to make time for this as well.
  • Emotionally: It is important not to overlook the mental and emotional toll that criminal charges can have on you. Especially if this is a first-time offense on your record, you may feel immense guilt, shame and anger. These emotions often linger as well, considering the long-term effects of a DWI.

Time also becomes a factor when seeking defense. To proactively manage these risks and help keep your record clear, you must obtain legal counsel immediately to fight DWI charges.