Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a very serious crime in North Carolina. There are currently five levels of misdemeanor DWI, with level 1 considered the most serious offense. In the event a person receives three convictions within a seven-year period, a felony DWI charge will be awarded. Here are the misdemeanor charges and their punishments

Level 1

People with multiple DWI offenses, or those who injured another person or were driving with a minor at the time of their arrest, are subject to level 1 or 2 charges. Jail time is a minimum of 30 days, which cannot be suspended, with a maximum of two years depending on the circumstances. Fines can be no greater than $4,000 and substance abuse treatment must be undergone as ordered by the court.

Level 2

With level 2 offenses, fines max out at $2,000. The minimum jail term is seven days, with a maximum of one year. Again, the minimum sentence must be served and cannot be suspended by the judge. Level 2 offenders are also subject to substances abuse treatment.

Level 3

Jail sentences for level 3 offenders include a minimum of 72 hours with a maximum of six months. The jail sentence may be traded for 72 hours in jail, 72 hours of community service, and a license suspension of 90 days. Fines can be no more than $1,000.

Level 4

At level 4, offenders can be given up to 120 hours in jail, or exchange their sentence for 48 hours of incarceration, 48 hours of community service, and a 60-day license suspension. Fines can’t exceed $500.

Level 5

The minimum sentence for level 5 offenses is 24 hours up to 60 days in jail. 24 hours of incarceration and community service and a 30-day license suspension may also replace the jail term. Fines can range up to $200.