While most crimes allow any time spent in jail after arrest to be credited when sentenced, DWI is different. Rather, a judge is able to a credit time against punishment and reduce the penalty a person is facing. For example, in some cases, a judge can even sentence a person to “time served,” and release them. However, due to N.C.G.S. 20-179p, there is a distinction made in DWI cases.
Time Served Issues in DWI
Under NC law, a person cannot be given credit for the first 24 hours of time served jail for a DWI charge. Why? Because the person is being spending time to “dry out” from having too much alcohol. Since this is the purpose of the person being in jail, it is not credited to them as punishment. Rather than being punishment, it is more of a way to keep the person and the public at large safe.
In addition, there are a couple of other aspects of the sentencing statute that are important to note. More specifically, it states the person sentenced shall served the minimum sentence and not be given credit for good behavior. Furthermore, the defendant may not be released on parole unless they have served the mandatory minimum sentence. And finally, they must obtain a substance abuse assessment and complete the recommended treatment.
All of this being said, many people who are convicted of DWI do not go to jail. But for those that do, each of these provisions is extremely important. So if a person has to spend time in jail, every single day that they are in jail counts. As a result, understanding how time served in jail is calculated becomes very important. Consequently, these laws, specific to DWI, are another example of the legislature’s concern about people driving while impaired. After all, everyone should be concerned and take steps to avoid DUI.