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Is there a difference between a DUI and a DWI in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | DWI |

Being pulled over by law enforcement can be a very stressful situation for North Carolina motorists. If an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of a substance or intoxicated, this could give the officer a reason to conduct a field sobriety test and charge a motorist with a DUI. When this occurs, motorists should note that this is not an end all. One has the right to initiate a DUI defense against the allegations.


In some states, a DUI and a DWI are treated differently. With regards to a DUI, this refers to a motorist driving under the influence. This could mean that the individual in under the influence; however, it could also mean that he or she was driving under the influence of drugs. In contrast, DWI refers to driving while intoxicated or impaired. Impairment could be caused by various factors, including alcohol, drugs, drowsiness and other similar factors.

Penalties in North Carolina

In the state of North Carolina, a DUI and DWI are treated the same. With regards to penalties, after the first offense one experiences license suspension for 30 days. There is also limited driving privileges for 10 days during the suspension. While license suspension and fines are the major penalties one focuses on, a conviction could impact a motorist for long after that. For example, an individual’s car insurance rate is very likely to increase. This typically impacts a car insurance premium for three to five years.

While a DUI is often viewed at as a traffic violation, the reality is that is can carry with it serious penalties and hefty fines. Those accused of a DUI do not need to assume these consequences without putting up a legal fight. A criminal defense could ultimately help one reduce and even dismiss the allegations against them.