Teen Driver With Her Intoxicated Father as a PassengerTechnically, you cannot be charged with DWI if you are intoxicated and supervising a young driver. However, you could be arrested for impaired supervision, which is very similar to a DWI offense and carries similar penalties under North Carolina law.

What Is Impaired Supervision?

N.C.G.S. 20-12.1 makes it against the law for an individual to serve as a supervising driver or instructor while intoxicated. The offense of impaired supervision can be committed by acting as a supervising driver for a teen driver under one of the following circumstances:

  • Being under the influence of an impairing substance
  • Having consumed enough alcohol that the individual’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher

Who Is Permitted to Be a Supervising Driver?

Before a teen obtains a driver’s license, they must be issued a learner’s permit and are only permitted to operate a vehicle while a supervising driver is in the vehicle beside them. In order to be considered a supervising driver, the person must be a parent, grandparent, or guardian of the young driver or a responsible person who is approved to act as a supervising driver by the teen’s parent or guardian.

What Are the Penalties for Impaired Supervision?

Impaired supervision is an implied consent offense and is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail, a fine, and court costs. In addition, their driver’s license would be immediately suspended at the time of their arrest as it would be if they were the intoxicated driver and arrested for DWI.

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.


C. Todd Browning
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer