The state of North Carolina has a history of strict drinking and driving statutes, but the Governor’s DWI Initiative has taken penalties to another level. The state is serious about keeping drunk drivers off the road, and repeat offenders may lose their vehicles as a result.
A little background
As of the year 2000, people convicted of driving while intoxicated whose driver’s licenses have been reinstated cannot drink and drive. If they are arrested again for DWI, they will lose their licenses if their blood alcohol content level is 0.04 percent or higher. There are five levels of DWI misdemeanor levels in North Carolina. DWI becomes a felony if a driver has had three DWI convictions during the past seven years.
The Governor’s DWI Initiative
This initiative deals with repeat DWI offenders by removing the means to drive, which involves taking away their vehicles. For instance, let us say that someone is arrested for DWI and this person is operating a vehicle despite his license having been revoked due to a previous impaired driving conviction. In this instance, a law enforcement officer can seize the driver’s vehicle at the time a charge of DWI is made. If the driver is convicted of DWI as well as driving on a revoked license, the judge can order that the driver’s vehicle be forfeited. The vehicle is then given to the school board. They can use it, sell it and keep the proceeds, or sell it and share the money with other school systems.
Under the Governor’s DWI Initiative, law enforcement officers can also order chemical testing for someone suspected of driving while impaired by a drug. If the driver refuses to take the test, his or her license can be revoked.
An arrest for DWI can be a frightening experience, one that could result in jail or prison time, heavy fines and license revocation. However, everyone has rights that must be protected, and a driver who is arrested for DWI at any level does not have to face the North Carolina legal system alone.