Aiding and Abetting DWI in North Carolina

Aiding and abetting DWI NC

Aiding And Abetting DWI Charges

Even if you aren’t driving, you can still be convicted of a DWI in North Carolina, which can lead to losing your driver’s license, paying a fine, or jail time. Not sure how this is possible? Our criminal defense DWI attorneys at The Coolidge Law Firm share what you need to know about aiding and abetting DWI.

What Is Aiding And Abetting DWI NC?

First, let’s look at what driving while impaired means in North Carolina. Under the North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1, an individual may be convicted of a DWI if it is found that they committed the offense of impaired driving while operating a motor vehicle on any public highway, street, or vehicular area:

  • Under the influence of an “impairing substance;”
  • After testing positive for a Schedule I controlled substance in any amount;
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 (if they are over the age of 21);
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 if they are driving a commercial vehicle;
  • Having any alcohol or impairing substance at all if they are under the age of 21.

However, aiding and abetting impaired driving is also a crime as, under the case of State v. Gibbs in 1947, “the unlawful operation of a motor vehicle upon a public highway while under the influence of intoxicating liquor is a misdemeanor and all who participate in the commission of a misdemeanor, as aiders and abettors or otherwise, are guilty as principals.

Aiding and abetting refers to assisting or encouraging someone to commit a crime. If allegations of aiding and abetting DWI go to North Carolina court, a judge or jury must find:

  1. The crime of driving while intoxicated was committed by another person.
  2. The defendant knowingly advised, encouraged, or aided the intoxicated driver.
  3. The defendant’s words or deeds led to the crime being committed by the driver.

We understand this can be confusing, so an example of how a defendant aids and abets impaired driving would be telling another person that they are safe to drive and should do so, even if the defendant knew the driver was intoxicated.

What Is The Punishment For Aiding And Abetting DWI NC?

Aiding and abetting DWI is a Level Five DWI crime. While this is the least serious classification of the six levels of driving while impaired, it still carries serious penalties and punishment as it is a misdemeanor.

A person convicted of this DWI offense is facing a jail sentence of up to 60 days, community service, and a $200 fine. In addition to the immediate punishment, a DWI conviction leads to having your license revoked for up to a year and a permanent criminal record that can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or get a professional license.

Can You Face Abetting DWI Charges For Letting An Intoxicated Person Drive Your Car?

One of the most common causes of these criminal charges is when a person knowingly gives a drunk driver their car keys and lets them drive their vehicle. The owner of the car may or may not be in the vehicle at the time the impaired driver is pulled over and arrested. However, if the impaired person committing the DWI tells the police officer that they are not the owner of the car and that the car owner gave them the keys and told them or encouraged them to drive, the owner of the vehicle can be arrested and charged with DWI aiding and abetting.

How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Assist In Your Aiding And Abetting DWI Case

While this may seem like a minor charge, as we mentioned above, it does come with serious penalties and punishments. Fortunately experienced criminal defense attorneys can help clients beat aiding and abetting DWI charges or get a reduced sentence.

Judging a person guilty of this criminal charge is contingent on them knowingly encouraging drunk driving. Thus, the most common defense of aiding and abetting impaired driving is that the defendant didn’t know the impaired driver had been consuming alcohol or a controlled substance. However, every case is different, and it’s important to work with a knowledgeable DWI lawyer who can create a personalized strategy to help you get a more favorable outcome for your case.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a DWI Lawyer in Raleigh Today

If you are facing charges of aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina, you need legal representation to avoid a jail sentence, revoked license, and other penalties. Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients succeed in their cases, and we will fight to help you move forward from these charges. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at (919) 239-8448 or fill out the form below to get started. 

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