Can You Face Criminal Charges for Letting a Drunk Person Drive While Intoxicated in North Carolina?

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What am I obligated to do if I’ve been pulled for Drinking and Driving?”


You probably know that driving under the influence of alcohol can get you in trouble with the law, but in North Carolina, you can also face criminal charges if you are a passenger in a vehicle operated by an intoxicated driver.

drunk-driving-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-DWI-Lawyer-225x300Under North Carolina law, you can be charged if you knew that the driver was intoxicated and allowed or encouraged them to get behind the wheel. The charge is known as “aiding and abetting a DWI.”

If you were charged with aiding and abetting driving while intoxicated for letting a drunk person operate a vehicle while intoxicated in Charlotte or elsewhere in the state of North Carolina, do not hesitate to contact our skilled criminal defense attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC.


What is Aiding and Abetting DWI in North Carolina?

The criminal charge of aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina applies when (a) someone knowingly aids, advises, encourages, or instigates another person to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and (b) the motorist commits the crime of DWI as a result.

To be charged with aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina, it must be established that the defendant was aware that the driver was impaired and that their actions – or lack thereof – contributed to driving while intoxicated.

Typically, police officers prepare grounds for the charge of aiding and abetting DWI based on statements made by the defendant during a traffic stop and/or when the drunk driver is getting arrested.


Examples of Aiding and Abetting DWI in North Carolina

In most cases, North Carolinians are charged with aiding and abetting for turning their car keys over to an intoxicated person and riding along as a passenger. This scenario is the most common example of facing the charge of aiding and abetting DWI.

However, in other cases, you can also be charged with aiding and abetting DWI even if you do not ride along as a passenger or even if the vehicle is not yours (and you merely encouraged another person to get behind the wheel while intoxicated).

Typically, people charged with aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina choose to defend themselves against the charge by arguing that they did not know that the other person was too drunk to operate a vehicle safely.


What are the Penalties for Aiding and Abetting DWI in North Carolina?

A conviction of aiding and abetting DWI is punished as a Level 5 DWI in North Carolina. Under the North Carolina Gen. Stat. 20-179, Level 5 is the least serious punishment among all DWIs in the state.

According to the statute, a Level 5 punishment includes the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $200 in addition to court costs; and
  • Imprisonment from 24 hours to 60 days.

Typically, persons convicted of aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina are placed on probation instead of the jail sentence. Contact a Charlotte DWI defense attorney if you are being accused of aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina. Schedule a consultation with our criminal defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss your particular case. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.





Image Credit



See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:



See Our Related Blog Posts:

Death by Vehicle in North Carolina: Who can be Convicted of the Crime and What are the Penalties?


Can You Reduce a DWI Charge to Reckless Driving in North Carolina?

Contact Information