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When Might I Get a Federal DWI in North Carolina?

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Charlotte, Charlotte DWI Attorney, Charlotte DWI Lawyer, DWI on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Alcohol and handcuffs from DWI

Most people wind up with a DWI (driving while impaired) charge when they’re out having a good time with friends or family – they are at the beach or camping, or perhaps spending the day elsewhere in North Carolina. However, where you get charged with DWI can make a big difference in how your case is handled, and the potential penalties you might face if convicted.

The federal DWI lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys have extensive experience handling both state and federal drunk driving cases. As a result, we know how to navigate the process efficiently. If you’ve been charged with a federal DWI, you need an attorney who knows both the federal and state laws in order to get the best possible result. Call us at (980) 237-4579, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you.

Where You Can Be Charged with a Federal DWI

The general rule of thumb is that you can be charged with a federal DWI if you are arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs on federally-owned property. Examples include:

  • National parks or forests
  • Military bases
  • Federally owned and maintained parkways

More specifically, in North Carolina, you can be charged with a federal DWI in the following locations:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Pisgah National Forest
  • Uwharrie National Forest
  • Fort Bragg
  • Camp Lejeune
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Pope Air Force Base
  • Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
  • Croatan National Forest

This is not an exhaustive list. Many people don’t even realize they are on federal land until they’ve been charged. Because so much of these lands are used for recreation, it’s very easy to find yourself finding a federal DWI charge when you had no intention of breaking the law.

Drunk Driving Under Federal Law

Just like state law, you can be charged with a federal DWI if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Under the Assimilative Crimes Act, the penalties for most federal DWIs will be the same as under state law. This is one of the reasons that your attorney should understand both federal and state law when it comes to these charges.

North Carolina determines your punishment on a sliding scale that incorporates a number of factors, such as prior convictions, your BAC, and other circumstances. If convicted of a first-time, Level Five DWI in state court, you face a number of possible penalties, such as:

  • 24 hours to 60 days in jail
  • Probation
  • Court Costs
  • Fines reaching $200
  • 12 month revocation of your North Carolina driving privileges

Depending on the circumstances of your case, the penalties for a more serious DWI can rise to years behind bars, and up to $10,000 in fines. If convicted, you also face a substantial increase in insurance and having a criminal conviction on your permanent record. If you are a member of the military, this could result in a demotion or even discharge. Additionally, if you are charged with DWI on a military base, whether you are active duty or a civilian, your driving privileges on the military base will likely be revoked, regardless of the outcome of your case.

DWIs in National Parks

While most federal DWIs are subject to the same penalties as a drunk driving offense under North Carolina law, there is one notable exception: a DWI in a national park is a class B misdemeanor that is subject to federal penalties. If convicted of a first-time federal DWI in a national park, the potential consequences are:

  • Up to six months in federal prison
  • Fines reaching $5,000
  • Up to five years on federal probation

The penalties for a DWI in a National Park can be much more serious than elsewhere. If you were charged with DWI for driving under the influence in a National Park, or aren’t sure if you were in a national park, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced federal DWI lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help with Your Federal DWI Case

As intimidating as federal drunk driving charges may be, it’s important to remember that you haven’t yet been convicted. Don’t let a simple mistake or error in judgment jeopardize your future – speak with an experienced federal DWI lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys as soon as possible. We can help you understand your options and formulate an aggressive defense. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact us today at (980) 237-4579.