People accused of drunk driving with prior convictions for driving while impaired in North Carolina face stiffer consequences if charged with a repeat DWI offense. In 2011, the penalties for repeat DWI charges became more strict under a law commonly referred to as "Laura's Law," as this blog has previously discussed. Charges for alleged habitual drunk driving are a serious matter, and the penalties became more serious when Laura's Law went into effect.
A North Carolina driver is accused of habitual impaired driving after officers responded to a report of a car accident last Friday in Wilson, North Carolina. The car accident was reported shortly before 4:15 in the afternoon. Wilson Police officers believe that the 48-year-old Bailey, North Carolina woman involved in the wreck was impaired. She was taken to an area hospital for medical treatment and authorities reportedly obtained a blood sample. Results of the blood test have not been released.
Authorities say that the Bailey woman has been convicted of three prior DWI offenses on her record. The oldest of the DWI offenses dates back to 2001, according to the Wilson Times. The woman was booked into jail in on $15,000 secured bond. A charge of habitual DWI is considered a felony offense in North Carolina.
Generally, North Carolina law allows prosecutors to charge a driver with a habitual DWI offense based upon allegations that the driver has been convicted of three or more specified offenses involved with impaired driving within 10 years of the current DWI allegations. The DWI law says that a person convicted of habitual DWI must serve a mandatory minimum of at least one year. Other provisions extend to the vehicle involved in an alleged a habitual DWI offense and revocation of driving privileges in North Carolina.
When the stakes are raised by allegations of a repeat DWI offense, it becomes more important for a person accused of the offense to seek legal counsel to defend against the charges. A criminal defense lawyer can assess the procedures involved in the case, as well as the facts to help protect against possible government over reaching.
Source: Wilson Times, "Crash leads to habitual DWI charge," Corey Friedman, Jan.28, 2013