Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in North Carolina that comes with harsh punishments, such as a jail sentence, large fines, and suspension of a driver's license. While most people know that DWI is a crime, they may not realize that they can be charged with is aiding and abetting a DWI.
Unfortunately, the penalties for aiding and abetting a DWI are as severe as those for DWI. If you were arrested for this crime, you should retain a knowledgeable DWI lawyer who understands the defenses that can be raised in DWI cases and can help you mount a strong defense strategy to fight the charges you face.
What Is DWI in North Carolina?
Under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1, there is more than one way that a person can be charged with DWI. It is against the law for an individual to drive a motor vehicle on a highway, road, or public area if:
- They are under the influence of an impairing substance.
- They have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
- They have any amount of a Class 1 controlled substance, such as heroin, ecstasy, or cocaine, in their system.
- They have any amount of alcohol in their system and are under 21 years old.
- They are a commercial driver and have a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
What Is Aiding and Abetting a DWI?
A person can be arrested for aiding and abetting a DWI if they encourage an intoxicated person to drive. In order to be charged with this crime, it must be established that they knowingly aided, encouraged, or instigated an intoxicated individual to operate a motor vehicle, and the person committed a DWI as a result of this.
An abettor must have known that the driver was impaired and, despite this knowledge, encouraged or contributed to the intoxicated person's driving. It is not enough for them to know that the person had been consuming alcohol. To be convicted of this crime, it must be proven that the abettor knew or should have known that the driver was intoxicated. The police officer often relies on the motorist's statement to prove that this crime was committed.
There are many situations where a person can be charged with aiding and abetting a DWI. The most common scenario where this crime is committed is when an individual turns over the keys to their car to an intoxicated driver and is a passenger in the motor vehicle. However, they can also be charged with this offense if they knowingly give the intoxicated person their keys but are not a passenger at the time of the DWI arrest.
Punishments for Aiding and Abetting a DWI
Aiding and abetting a DWI is classified as a Level Five DWI for sentencing purposes under N.G.C.S. 20-179. This is the least serious classification of DWI.
If convicted of aiding and abetting a DWI, an individual can be sentenced to 24 hours to 60 days in jail and a fine of $200. However, the judge can suspend the jail sentence and sentence them to probation instead. The term of probation would usually be for 12 months. They would be required to comply with all the terms of probation, which would include completing 24 hours of community service and an alcohol counseling program.
In addition, if a person is convicted of aiding and abetting a DWI, they would have a permanent criminal record. This can affect their ability to obtain employment, housing, education, and more.
Have You Been Arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, NC?
If you are facing DWI charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.