Drinking and driving is a big concern because of the extensive damage it causes. In order maintain safety on the roads, police departments step up patrols over the holiday season-a time when more people are tempted to drink and drive. However, those who may be inclined to tempt fate should know a DWI charge does have significant legal and non-legal repercussions.
Recently, North Carolina has worked to follow their new Booze It & Lose It campaign. This campaign basically instructs police departments to up their enforcement levels over the holiday seasons. Holidays are often the times when many people travel and when many people drink at social events, resulting in an increased chance of accident .
The last heightened level of enforcements happened over the Labor Day weekend. The leading county in North Carolina for DWI arrests during that period was Wake County, with Mecklenburg and Buncombe counties not far behind. Overall the campaign resulted in 2,745 DWI arrests according to State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti.
The legal limit for drinking and driving in North Carolina is 0.08 percent. There is, however, an enhanced penalty once the person reaches a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent.
In addition to the creation of a criminal record and fines and jail time, there are many other penalties for drinking and driving. License suspension as well as mandatory alcohol education and assessment and treatment are both mandatory in the event of a DWI. It is also possible that the court can confiscate a person’s vehicle or have them install an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device is installed in the offender’s car and will not allow them to start it unless they have had nothing to drink. The convicted offender is responsible for the installation and maintenance costs of the ignition interlock device, thereby adding to the monetary costs of a DWI.
Along with the legal consequences of getting a DWI there is also a negative stigma surrounding the offense, especially regarding employment. Many employers conduct background checks and the appearance of a DWI may be perceived negatively by a potential employer. Moreover, DWI convictions are often aired in local newspapers, subjecting an individual’s poor choice to public scrutiny.
Because of all of these negative consequences, it is that much more important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect the rights of the charged and ensure the police and prosecution follow proper procedure.