Not all DWI charges are equal. The law breaks them down into levels based on various factors involved in the situation, such as blood alcohol level and previous convictions. It is also possible for a DWI charge to become a felony.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, there are five levels for misdemeanor DWI charges in the state. Each level has its own penalties with level I being the most severe and level V being the least severe.

Level I and II

Level I and II misdemeanors are for those drivers who have had previous convictions for drunk driving. If you fall into this level, then you likely do not have a valid driver’s license. You can also fall into these two levels if you have a child in the vehicle at the time of your arrest or if you hurt someone in a DWI accident.

For both levels, you will have to attend treatments and undergo an assessment for drug and alcohol addiction.

Level I also carries 30 days to two years in jail and a $4,000 possible fine. You will serve at least 30 days in jail as this is a minimum mandatory sentence.

Level II has a possible fine up to $2,000 with at least seven days in jail, but you could get up to one year. The seven days is a mandatory minimum sentence.

Level III and IV

A level III has the potential for 72 hours in jail with a maximum of 72 hours. The judge will require a minimum of 72 hours in jail unless you agree to a license suspension for 90 days or to 72 hours of community service. You may also pay a fine of up to $1,000.

A level IV DWI has a maximum 120-day jail sentence. The minimum requirement is 48 hours in jail or of community service. You may also get a 60-day license suspension instead of jail or community service. The fine is up to $500.

Level V

The lowest level DWI charge comes with a minimum of 24 hours in jail, which you can defer with either 24 hours of community service or a 30-day license suspension. You could get up to 60 days in jail, though, with a fine up to $200.