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Aiding and Abetting DWI Charges in NC

Did you know you can face DWI charges without even driving? The crime, “aiding and abetting DWI,” can be every bit as serious as DWI charges and has caused 2,000 in the state of North Carolina to face arrest and jail time in one year alone. Aiding and abetting DWI charges are no joke in NC. Let’s look at this charge, how it may affect you, and your legal defense.

Aiding and Abetting DWI Charges in NC

You “aid and abet” a crime if you knowingly make statements or do things that encourage the crime. When you aid and abet a crime, you can face charges similar to the person committing the crime. You aid and abet a DWI when you knowingly encourage an impaired individual to drive your car while drunk. 

In a recent North Carolina supreme court case, State v. Gibbs, the court stated, “When an owner places his motor vehicle in the hands of an intoxicated driver, sits by his side, and permits him, without protest, to operate the vehicle on a public highway, while in a state of intoxication, he is as guilty as the man at the wheel.”

Some ways you can knowingly aid and abet another to drive while impaired:

  • Advise: “You should drive my car. You’re not as drunk as I am. Here, take my keys.”
  • Instigate: “I ‘double dare’ you to drive my car right now. I’ll ride with you.”
  • Encourage: “If I say you’re okay, you’re okay, even though you just tripped on your own feet twice. Take my keys and I’ll just rest in the back.”
  • Procure: I’ll bring my car around the back of the bar and let you drive, okay?”
  • Help: “You don’t want to drive your new car? I’ll let you drive my piece of junk.”

You can also face a DWI conviction for aiding and abetting drunk driving when doing something that causes someone to drive drunk. For example:

  • You help a friend off the bar floor, let them grab your keys, and hop into your driver’s seat. You get in the passenger seat.
  • You pick up your barely conscious girlfriend, open the driver’s door of your car and place her in the driver’s seat. You crank the car, and she drives away.
  • You pull your drunk friend by the hand out of a bar. You dangle your keys out to him. He grabs them and drives off with you in the passenger seat.

You can face aiding and abetting DWI charges for letting someone drive your car while knowing they are impaired. However, NC courts have not convicted anyone of Aiding and Abetting DWI for simply riding with a drunk driver in someone else’s car.

What Penalties Can I Face for Aiding and Abetting DWI in NC?

A person convicted of aiding and abetting DWI is subject to a Level 5 DWI punishment according to NC Law 20-179. A Level 5 Aiding and Abetting DWI Offense can bring you:

  • Immediate license suspension for one year
  • Up to $200 in fines
  • Likely between 24 hours and 60 days in jail
  • 24 hours of community service 
  • Substance abuse assessment and treatment

If convicted, there is no expungement of your criminal record in NC. A permanent criminal record can cause difficulty finding employment and housing.

If You’re Arrested for Aiding and Abetting DWI

If law enforcement stops a car you are in for DWI, it is crucial not to speak about what happened without your attorney present. You have the right not to say anything without your attorney present.

Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Also, do not waive your Miranda rights. Courts may also use phone conversations, a short talk with a cellmate, or talks with family during visitation hours against you. Admitting that you knew the driver was impaired can set you to face conviction if they were driving your car. 

Your Best DWI Defense

If you face charges for aiding and abetting DWI, NC courts must prove several things happened. They must prove that you knowingly advised, encouraged, procured, helped, or committed an act to turn your car over to the impaired person. The court must also prove that the individual was impaired before convicting you. 

If you’re facing charges, no matter where you are in the process, contact an experienced DWI criminal law attorney at Scharff Law immediately to defend you against the charges of the judicial system in NC. Avoiding a conviction is often possible with well-thought-out defense arguments. 

Pleading guilty or arguing before a judge without an attorney present is never a good idea. You need an experienced attorney as your voice against criminal charges.

We Can Help

At Scharff Law, we look at your aid and abet charges from every angle to find the best defense in your particular case. We consider whether your rights have been violated, whether the traffic stop was valid, and whether the prosecutor has proof against you, among other things. We often find that mitigating circumstances can help reduce charges or give you alternative resolutions without a criminal record.

Our past successes with the dismissal of first-time offense cases and our specific experience with Aiding and Abetting DWI charges give you the best chances for a good outcome. Fight for your chance to go through life without a criminal record. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options. Contact us today and find out how we can help.


  1. Aiding and Abetting Impaired Driving 
  2. NC Traffic Stop Statistics
  3. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/3916310/state-v-gibbs/
  4. GS 20-179