In North Carolina, if you are pulled over while driving and your blood alcohol level is over a .08 or you are noticeably impaired, you can be charged and possibly convicted of a DWI. DWI punishments are severe, but the ramifications of a conviction last far longer than a jail sentence, probation, or community service obligation. Our DWI attorneys in Pinehurst, NC are explaining how long a DWI stays on your record as well as what kind of option you may have if you are facing charges or if you already have been convicted.
Unlike most states, a DWI conviction in North Carolina is permanent and will stay on your record forever. This is why we highly recommend you have a criminal defense attorney represent you if you've been charged with this because they can look over the police reports, lab information, and any other information to create a defense strategy that can minimize the likelihood of a conviction in the first place.
The Look Back Period
A "look back period" is the amount of time a conviction counts against you or can be used against you when determining a punishment for an offense. In North Carolina, there is a 10 year look back period, meaning if you are charged with DWI within 10 years of an original conviction, the court will determine this to be a second offense and is punishable for heavier penalties.
- A second offense within only three years of a DWI conviction can be punishable by up to two years in prison and a four-year license suspension;
- Four DWIs within seven years of the original conviction can raise the charges to a felony, carrying a mandatory 1-year prison sentence and a permanent loss of your driver's license.
DWI Expungement in North Carolina
Most states allow you to petition for DWI expungement after a certain period of time, meaning the conviction will be removed from your record. However, in North Carolina DWIs are specifically excluded from expungement, unlike most other misdemeanors, unless your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty at your trial. Only then can you have your charges erased from your record.
How Can a DWI Conviction Affect the Future?
If you've been convicted of a DWI, it can negatively affect the rest of your life. Court dates and spending time in jail may lead to a loss of job. Once you have served your time, a suspended or revoked driver's license means you may not be able to get to work, take your kids to school or run necessary errands.
Even several years after you've been convicted, your record will show up on every background check, which is often mandatory for employment, college admissions and financial aid, or renting a house or apartment. You may lose valuable opportunities because of one simple mistake.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a DWI Attorney in Pinehurst
If you've been charged with a DWI, don't jeopardize your future by trying to fight the charges yourself. Reach out to our experienced team of DWI attorneys in Pinehurst and get the skilled representation you need for a more favorable outcome in your case. Call us at 910-295-2525 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation today.