You may have heard of Driving While Impaired (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), but what exactly is Driving After Consuming (DAC)? In North Carolina, Driving After Consuming is a serious offense, completely separate from the commonly known DWI. In fact, if you are under 21 years old, depending on the specific facts of the case, you may even be charged with driving while consuming and driving while impaired.
Under N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3, it is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to drive a motor vehicle on a public street, highway or vehicular area after consuming any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in North Carolina. Since driving while consuming applies to minors under 21 years of age, special rules apply. For example, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard of .08 is irrelevant. A minor that has a BAC of even .01 could face a Driving After Consuming charge. A minor with a BAC of .08 or higher may also be charged with a DWI if the officer finds other signs of impairment.
A conviction for underage Driving After Consuming can lead to punishments similar to a DWI conviction such as substantial fines, probation and/or jail time. As a minor, not only can a conviction affect your ability to have a drivers license, but also your education, career and future. Driving After Consuming under the age of 21 is a Class 2 misdemeanor that can result in up to 60 days in jail and your drivers license revoked for up to one year. A driving while consuming charge may also lead to long-term consequences on automobile insurance rates.
In Wake County, some judges may offer an opportunity to “earn” a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) following a Driving After Consuming after completing community service and/or substance abuse treatment. Once a PJC is granted, there will be no fine, probation or jail time and no license suspension. In order to gain the most favorable result possible in your case, its imperative that you have an experience attorney on your side.
If you have any questions about driving while consuming, or you or your child has recently been charged with this offense, contact the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel have experience representing clients with DAC and DWI charges and will work diligently to get the best possible outcome for you. You may contact the offices at 919-585-1486 or email the attorneys directly at Kristi@wileynickel.com or Wiley@wileynickel.com.