Many of you have probably heard the news about the North Carolina man being sentenced to 7 years in prison for his 17th DWI.
Such news may lead many to wonder: So what is the difference between a DUI and DWI? Do they mean the same thing? What verbiage does North Carolina (NC) use? What are the consequences of driving under the influence? There are so many questions about the law but what happens when someone is charged and sentenced with their 17th DWI?
DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. In some cases, depending on state law, the two terms are both used to describe impaired or drunken driving. North Carolina’s Safe Roads Act of 1983 did away with all of the state’s previous drug- and alcohol-related driving laws and put everything under a single offense―North Carolina only has driving while impaired, or DWI.
Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the most common way NC determines whether you’re legally impaired.The legal limits are:
- 21 or Older: 0.08%
- Commercial drivers (CDL): 0.04%
- Younger than 21: Any alcohol concentration
- Prior DWI: 0.04%
NC DWI penalties are serious business and should be for endangering people’s lives. Based on your age, the offense number, and your license type, you may face penalties like:
- Fines, including court costs and lawyer fees.
- License suspension or revocation.
- Jail time. For some offenses, the jail time is mandatory rather than possible.
- Community service.
- Higher car insurance rates.
17 times is a lot in anyone’s book to be charged with DWI. Should the penalties be harsher for the habitual offenders? Should the Legislature in NC look into laws concerning habitual offenders next session?