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North Carolina drunk drivers can face tough consequences


Drunk driving is without argument an irresponsible and dangerous practice of motorists in North Carolina and beyond its state lines. National statistics show that someone dies nearly every 45 seconds due to the consequences of a drunk driving accident. Stringent laws are an important part of protecting the public and ensuring that pedestrians and other vehicles and passengers are safe while travelling on North Carolina highways and byways.

Drunk driving charges are brought against a driver with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding the legal limit. That measurement is usually obtained during a traffic stop by using standardized field sobriety tests, such as breathalyzers. The BAC legal limit for non-commercial drivers is 0.08 percent. Commercial drivers have a stricter BAC limit of 0.04 percent. Underage drivers, those younger than the legal drinking age of 21, can be arrested for drunk driving if any traceable level of alcohol is found in their bloodstream or on their breath.

Often a driver is suspected of driving under the influence after an interview conducted at a roadside sobriety checkpoint. A driver exhibiting erratic driving behavior can also be stopped if an officer suspects driving under the influence to be the cause of this behavior. At these stops, the driver's license will be checked, the driver may be asked to step out of the car and take a standardized breath test and other sobriety tests. If the driver fails these tests, the police officer can arrest the driver with charges of driving under the influence.

North Carolina law imposes strict consequences for a drunk driving conviction, such as a $10,000 fine. Commercial and teenage drivers can also face even tougher legal consequences. A driving license can also be revoked for a month if a driver refuses to take a breath test. A driver's vehicle can also be seized if a driver is found guilty of driving drunk with a suspended license.

Source: North Carolina DoT, "Booze it & Lose it," Accessed on May 21, 2015

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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