In general, a North Carolina resident who is convicted of a DWI is required to get a substance use assessment and successfully complete a substance abuse education program or a treatment program. However, there are different types and levels of education programs and treatment programs available, though the program a defendant may be required to complete depends on a variety of factors.
The factors that can determine what type of program will be required includes whether or not the defendant has prior DWI convictions, if another person was seriously injured or killed during the drunk driving incident and whether or not the defendant has already participated in a similar program. Additionally, those who have a blood alcohol content of more than .14 percent will be automatically referred to treatment.
Depending on the case factors, the length of treatment can vary. For example, first-time offenders and minors may complete an education program that is shorter in duration than those who have multiple DWI convictions or who had a high BAC when they were taken into custody. In some cases, a multiple offender could be required to complete a 30-month long program that may begin with mandatory weekly attendance that gradually changes to every other week.
When a person is taken into custody on drunk driving charges, he or she will have both a DMV hearing and a criminal trial. The outcome of both the hearing and the trial itself can have an impact on the person’s ability to earn an income and go about his or her daily life. Because the processes can be intimidating, a criminal law attorney could assist with mounting a strong defense against a DWI charge by challenging the traffic stop or demonstrating that the breath test was not properly conducted.