Laura was killed last July when a drunk driver slammed into the car carrying the 17-year-old and two friends. The driver had three DWI convictions already. The accident sparked a good deal of discussion about North Carolina’s continuous alcohol monitoring system, or “ankle bracelet,” law. Under current law, a court cannot order an offender to wear an ankle bracelet for more than 60 days. Proposed legislation would change that limit as well as other penalties for repeat offenders.
The bill is the brainchild of Laura’s mother and a former legislator who happened to be listening a radio call-in show last summer. During the interview, a day or so after her daughter’s funeral, Laura’s mom said she didn’t know how to change the laws to save other families the pain she was feeling. The former member of the House of Representatives heard the comment, called in and offered to help. The two collaborated on “Laura’s Law,” which was introduced in the House earlier this week.
The bill adds a level of punishment for DWI offenders. The “aggravated level one punishment” would be imposed on offenders when three or more “aggravating factors” were present. Those factors would not change from the current law; they include the following:
- A conviction for impaired driving within the last 7 years or following the current offense
- Driving with a license revoked for another impaired driving offense
- Serious injury to another person caused by the impaired driving in the current instance
- Driving with a passenger under the age of 16
In our next post, we’ll discuss the specific penalties proposed in the bill.
WBTV, “Drunk drivers beware: Lawmakers unveil ‘Laura’s Law’ in Raleigh,” 02/08/11
North Carolina General Assembly, House Bill 49: Laura’s Law (accessed 02/11/11)