DWI in North Carolina - community service in lieu of jail timeIn North Carolina a DWI is no joke. Depending on the level of the offense, your sentence could  include stiff fines, jail, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Legislation is pending to extend the ignition interlock to first offenders.

North Carolina DWI - community service is hard workBut if the DWI offense is not too severe, the judge might suspend the jail time and order community service in lieu of incarceration. This will not happen if your DWI includes aggravating factors, including have a child in the vehicle, prior convictions, and causing an accident or injury.

What community service you perform depends upon what’s available in your county. Some possibilities include:

  • Thrift stores. Working in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salvation Army thrift store, or other community store which raises money for charities.
  • Food banks. Stacking, sorting, distributing, and handling food donations at designated centers.
  • Animal shelters. Feeding, bathing and grooming animals, doing filing and other administrative work.
  • Fire/EMS. Housekeeping and vehicle maintenance
  • Public works. Park and trail maintenance, mosquito control, feral hog trapping, maintenance of public sites.
  • Mission work. Setting up accommodations for refugees, distributing meals and clothing.

While the work is constructive, it’s not easy. Consider the downside before you risk a North Carolina DWI:

  • The work is, of course, unpaid.
  • Your destination might be a long commute – you will be paying for gas and time off work.
  • It is not volunteer work – you are performing court-ordered service, and must show up on time, follow orders and rules, and complete the requirement. Whether your work will be accepted and your obligation discharged will depend on your performance.

While community service is a worthwhile substitute for jail time, an even better service you can perform for society is not to drink and drive. Let your volunteer work be a true labor of love, and keep the roads safe for everyone in North Carolina.

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