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Updated by Alan Schneider on Nov 16, 2017
Headline for Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Arrest in North Carolina
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Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Arrest in North Carolina

Find out what you need to know if you have been arrested for DUI/DWI. Follow these steps after a drunk driving arrest in NC.


Understand What is at Stake

If you get convicted at trial, the penalties for a standard first-time offense can include fines, jail time and loss of your driving privileges. If there are certain aggravating factors involved in your case, you could be facing enhanced penalties, including up to $4,000 in fines and 24 months in jail. A DUI/DWI conviction can also affect your insurance, your ability to get into school and your ability to find a job; and, if you are labeled as a habitual offender, you can be charged with felony DWI.


Make Sure You Know Your Court Date

Your first court date, called an arraignment, will likely be scheduled just days after your DUI/DWI arrest. You need to make sure that you appear, and it is strongly in your best interests to hire an attorney to represent you in court.


Write Down Everything You Remember about Your Arrest

When it comes to defending against DUI/DWI charges, the details matter. As soon as possible, you should write down everything you remember about your traffic stop and arrest. Why did the arresting officer say he or she pulled you over? Did the officer tell you that you were required to submit to the field sobriety tests (FSTs)? Did he or she explain the consequences of refusing the Breathalyzer? These are just a few examples of the type of facts that could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.


Take Steps to Mitigate Your Sentence

While your case is pending, there are steps you can take to reduce your sentence in the event that you are convicted at trial. These include, for example, voluntarily submitting to a DWI-alcohol assessment. Your attorney will be able to advise you of the best steps to take in order to minimize the sentence for your DUI/DWI.


Understand that Being Arrested Does Not Mean You are Guilty

Finally, do not assume that you are guilty. The fact that you were arrested does not mean that you violated the law; and, even if you were legally impaired behind the wheel, you could still have several defenses available.