DWI While Visiting North Carolina

DWI-blue-lights-300x230If you are not a resident of North Carolina, but get a DWI here, there are additional complications in your case.  They are not legal complications, but practical ones.  Our law office strives to work with out-of-state clients to make their lives as easy as possible.

DMV Issues

One of the most confusing aspects about being an out of state resident is their licensing.  Upon your arrest in North Carolina, you will often have their license taken by the police.  This is technically not supposed to happen.  That little piece of plastic in your wallet actually belongs to the state that issued it.  If the police take your license, and it was issued by another state, we can get that released.  However, even if you have your license, your driving privilege in North Carolina has been revoked.

What does that mean?  As long as your home state does not revoke your license, you can drive in any state in the Union except North Carolina.  However, if your home state determines that you were charged with DWI, it may suspend your license, depending on its law.  This is just the beginning of the troubles.  If you are found guilty, you may lose your driving privilege in North Carolina.  Trying to figure out what is going on with your license between two different state’s DMVs can be quite challenging.

Getting to Court

When a person is charged with a crime, then they are required to appear in court to face the charges.  If you are arrested in Mecklenburg County, then you will have to make the first appearance in Courtroom 1130, unless you hire an attorney to go on your behalf.  We can save you from being required to go to court on this appearance.  However, you will be required to make an appearance once the case is moved up to the fourth floor.

Your presence is vital in the case.  Failure to appear on your case can result in the issuing an order for your arrest. This, at the least, will result in a further complication to your case, and at worst, will result in your arrest.  We try to work with the schedule of our clients to make their travel back to North Carolina most convenient to their schedule.  We understand that this is an extra concur for many of our out of state clients.


Another complication occurs if you are convicted of DWI.  The judge will typically request that you complete some community service.  It is important to make sure that you are allowed to complete the community service in their home state.  Judges understand this, and almost always will allow it to make it easier for the defendant.  A further complication can arise when you are required to complete an assessment and substance abuse treatment.

Typically, the person is supposed to complete these at a North Carolina facility that is certified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  However, if you live out of state, this may not be an option for you.  Therefore, North Carolina allows you to complete treatment out of state, as long as a DHHS approved facility completes an out of state review.  Upon finding that you have completed a program that is sufficiently similar to what North Carolina would have you complete, the facility will certify your treatment, and you will not have to complete any more treatment in North Carolina to satisfy the court.

Whether you have been visiting North Carolina on pleasure or business, if you have been charged with DWI, give us a call.  We will be glad to help you with your case.  Our firm is here to help you navigate North Carolina’s legal system.  If you have any questions about NC law and how it affect your case, please give us a call.