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First Date Blues: Why a North Carolina DUI Stops the Romance at the Start



Some surprises can be a fun and positive way to add levity to a first date, but the wrong type of surprise can absolutely ruin it. Being arrested while driving on a night out is not conventionally seen as romantic. Asking the date to provide bail money upfront in order to get out of jail also bodes ill for any future contacts. Unfortunately, a ruined evening is not the worst thing to come from an arrest for driving while intoxicated. Arrests for driving under the influence have a variety of short-term and long-term consequences.

Short-Term Ramifications

North Carolina uses a variety of punishments that vary in severity depending upon how many previous convictions for driving under the influence one had and the circumstances surrounding the offense. Penalties for a conviction for driving while impaired are similar aside from the severity. North Carolina state law requires a license revocation and allows for a small range of fines and incarceration.

Punishments are organized in tiers depending upon the presence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, such as intoxication over .15 and below .10. A first-time offender will face a $100 fine, 24 hours in jail, 24 hours of community service, and a 30-day license suspension at the low end. If there are aggravating factors present, the court may increase the fine to $2,000 and jail the defendant for a period between two weeks to two years.

Multiple convictions will result in an increase in the minimum penalty. If the defendant is convicted a third time and at least one of those convictions was within the last five years, the defendant’s license will be permanently revoked. The fourth conviction is a felony under North Carolina state law.

Other short-term consequences include payments made to the bail bondsman, impound fees, and attorney’s fees. Drivers convicted of driving while impaired in North Carolina must also complete an education or treatment program subject to a substance abuse assessment. Most drivers convicted of driving while impaired is referred to as either a treatment or an education program. These programs cost money and take time to complete; there is no unified cost among program providers, so the cost can vary significantly.

Long-Term Ramifications

Defendants will be reminded by any Cashiers, NC to Charlotte DUI lawyer that convictions for driving while impaired carry numerous long-term complications. Increased insurance rates are common after a conviction for driving under the influence. Convictions for driving while impaired remains on the driver’s record for seven years. Some insurers may drop the insured altogether, forcing him or her to seek rates elsewhere. In addition to paying higher standard rates, the insured may lose various discounts for safe driving and discounts for having multiple types of policies with the same insurer.

Employment can also be an issue for individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. If the conviction amounted to a felony, finding employment will be very challenging. Felons are not a protected class and discrimination against them is common. If the conviction amounted to a misdemeanor, it will be very difficult to find any employment in the future that involves operating motor vehicles. If the convicted party is incarcerated, termination from employment is likely and can damage an otherwise promising career.

Being known as the person who was arrested for intoxicated driving while on a first date is an unavoidable detriment to one’s social life; the real problems start after the date has left. An arrest for driving while impaired will do more than ruin a night. Jail time, fines, treatment program costs, and assorted long-term economic costs will ensure that a conviction for driving while impaired causes serious financial harm to the defendant. Anyone accused of driving while impaired in North Carolina should immediately retain counsel.