Information on What the Ignition Interlock Device Laws are in the Old North State of NC
The laws that govern drinking and driving, DWI, and the NC Ignition Interlock requirement are the same in all of the cities across the state of North Carolina including Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, Durham, and Asheville. For those individuals who operate a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, it is likely they will be arrested and charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI), or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Should drivers be convicted of this crime, they are subject to a number of penalties that can include monetary fines, a driver’s license suspension, jail time, and having to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).
Research was performed to determine the effects of alcohol on an individual’s ability to drive. This study found that most drivers whose BAC was 0.05 percent were too impaired to drive, and all drivers were determined to be too impaired to drive with a BAC of 0.08 percent. This research is responsible for the 0.08 percent BAC threshold that almost all states have adopted as grounds to be charged with drinking and driving related crimes. Additionally, commercial drivers in North Carolina with a BAC of 0.04 percent can be charged with DWI, and there is a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Given the high cost and penalties involved for even a first DWI offense conviction, a person will need to have their arrest details examined online with us as soon as possible for help. This is an essential first step for getting help in order to find the best defense strategies which may very well be able to prevent a NC driver’s license from getting suspended, as well as possibly avoid the Ignition Interlock device requirement altogether after a DWI charge offense.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence or DWI Charges in North Carolina?
As mentioned, there are a number of penalties that individuals face should they be convicted of DWI in the state of North Carolina. These punishments that also include having to get an Ignition Interlock device installed, act as a means to discourage offenders from repeating the drinking and driving behavior as well as acting as an example for other drivers with a tendency to drink and drive. First time DWI offenders in NC have the least harsh penalties to contend with including:
- Minimum 24 Hours in Jail
- Fines of $200
- Installing an Ignition Interlock for an Average of 6 Months Length of Time
- Driver’s License Suspension of 60 Days to One Year
For a 2nd DWI offense in NC, or drivers with a previous DUI/DWI conviction within the past seven years, in this state face harsher penalties. Second time DWI offenders, or those with one previous conviction in the last seven years, face:
- Minimum Four Days in Jail Fines Dependent on Offender Level NC Driver’s License Suspension of One to Four Years DWI Interlock
- Requirement for Driving Privilege Reinstatement
Third time DWI offenders in North Carolina, or those with two previous DWI or DUI convictions in the last seven years, face:
- Minimum 14 to 30 Days in Jail
- Fines Dependent on Offender Level
- Driver’s License Suspension of One Year to Permanent Lose of Driver’s License
- Ignition Interlock Requirement for NC Drivers License Reinstatement (Required for a Minimum of Seven Years)
What is the Implied Consent Law for DWI Charges in North Carolina?
Like many other states in the US, North Carolina enforces what is known as an “implied consent” law when it comes to DWI charges. Under these laws, drivers in the state of North Carolina automatically consent to having chemical testing performed to determine BAC when it is in question. These tests during the course of DWI arrests can include blood, urine, or a Breathalyzer test. Should a driver refuse to take the test or complete them, they will face a fine and automatic suspended driver’s license. If convicted of DWI in NC, first time offenders who refuse testing will have their driver’s license suspended for a period of one year, and will also likely require having to get an Ignition Interlock device installed on any car they drive.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device and How Does It Work With New DWI Laws in NC?
Should DWI offenders wish to have their drivers license reinstated in North Carolina, and how it works under the new laws, is that it’s possible for the judge to authorize the installation and use of an Ignition Interlock device. These devices work very much in the same way as the Breathalyzer tests law enforcement officers use, except they are connected to the offender’s vehicle’s ignition system and possibly any other vehicle registered to that offender. In order to start the vehicle, offenders must provide a breath sample by blowing into the Interlock device – should the sample provided be below the pre-programmed limit, the vehicle starts normally.
With most cases in NC, the pre-programmed limit on the Ignition Interlock is set to 0.02 percent, and should the breath sample given by offenders be above this limit, the vehicle does not start. Additionally, these DWI Interlock devices are often set to require drivers to provide random retests while driving – should the retested sample be above the pre-programmed limit, the event is logged in the device’s memory and an alarm sounds and continues to sound until the vehicle is turned off. This is used to prevent third party individuals from providing the breath sample when offenders initially start the car.
When is Having to Use an Ignition Interlock Device Required in the State of North Carolina?
North Carolina state law outlines when the use of an Ignition Interlock device can be authorized as a means for offenders to have their driver’s license reinstated. The installation and maintenance of an IID can be authorized for offenders who:
- Are first time DWI offenders whose blood alcohol content (BAC) level was more than 0.15 percent
- Second or other repeat offenders whose most recent DWI offense was in the last seven years
North Carolina also outlines the length of time period of mandatory use for a car Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock:
- One year DWI Interlock use if license suspension was one year
- Three years IID installation of the device if the NC license suspension was four years
- Seven years Ignition Interlock device use if license was permanently suspended but can be restored
Who is Responsible for Paying the Total Cost of the NC Ignition Interlock Device?
In almost every case where convicted DWI offenders have been authorized to install an Ignition Interlock in NC, those drivers are responsible for paying all costs and fees associated with installing and maintaining the car Breathalyzer Interlock device. Those who plead guilty or convicted of a first DWI offense should be prepared to pay approximately $100 for the device’s installation as well as between $75 and $120 a month to lease the device. It is important to note these are just general estimates of cost – some North Carolina Interlock providers may charge more or less, and others may offer free IID installation.
What is the Process of Having to Get and Install an Ignition Interlock Device in North Carolina?
Once a convicted DWI driver in NC has been authorized to get a car Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock installed on their car in order to legally drive, they are given a deadline in which they need to have leased and installed the device. First, they need to contact a state approved DWI Interlock provider in order to obtain this device – state approved IID providers can be found all over North Carolina, and a full list of these companies can be found on the North Carolina Department of Transportation website. In order for Ignition Interlock installation to be legally valid, it is very important for offenders to acquire their device from one of these state approved providers.
Once the Interlock device has been leased, it needs to be professionally installed to the state of North Carolina standards under the current state law. After this installation process has been completed, offenders are often required to report back on the device’s status – they may need to report completion to their probation officer, the court, the judge, and possibly the Department of Transportation. When a NC Ignition Interlock lawyer reviews a driver’s own arrest scenario online with us soon after getting charged with DWI, they can then be in a proper position to discuss with a driver any potential defense strategy available for how to avoid having to get an Ignition Interlock device installed in:
[column col=”1/4″]Alamance County
[column col=”1/4″]Lincoln County
New Hanover County
Kill Devil Hills
Lake Norman of Catawba