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Does the 0.08 BAC law still apply after your first DWI?

As everyone knows, the blood alcohol limit for a driver in North Carolina -- let alone every state in the U.S. -- is 0.08. When a driver violates the DWI law in North Carolina, they are subject to drunk driving charges. Eventually they will get back out on the road. But when they do, are they still subject to the 0.08 BAC limit?

The answer is "probably not." Instead, if you have a prior charge for driving while intoxicated, you are then subject to a blood alcohol limit of 0.04. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If your driving record is superb, then you may be off the hook. Additionally, if your first DWI saw you arrested and convicted after July 1, 2001, then it could impact your second offense.

It only makes sense that the DWI law would get tougher if someone has a prior conviction for the offense -- but a first offense can be very harsh in the first place. We talked about the potential penalties in a prior blog post, but what must be noted is that in North Carolina, your DWI will be graded on a five-level scale by a judge. Level 5 is the least serious DWI, and a Level 1 (or aggravated Level 1) DWI garners the harshest penalties.

Remember that your DWI case could have unique circumstances that may lead to deviations from the exact punishments listed in our source material. However, they give you a good sense of the potential punishment that a DWI offender may face.

Source: Department of Motor Vehicles, "DUI & DWI in North Carolina," Accessed July 28, 2014

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