Have you ever had a moment of hesitation before getting behind the wheel, wondering if your blood alcohol content would register above or below the 0.08 legal limit? The truth is the line between legal and illegal is not very hard to cross. Unfortunately, if you do land on the side of illegal, the penalties for a DWI in North Carolina can be very harsh.
Drunk driving laws in North Carolina are some of the toughest in the nation, especially for drivers considered habitual offenders. In 2011, legislation referred to as “Laura’s Law” strengthened these already strict laws. It has only been a few years since, but lawmakers are at it again.
The 2011 amendments defined a habitual offender as someone who had three or more DWI convictions on his or her record. They also increased the severity of the penalties for habitual offenders charged with a subsequent DWI. Lawmakers are currently pushing two bills through the legislature that will not give you that third strike before you are deemed a habitual offender.
House Bill 32 changes the definition of habitual offender to a driver with just two prior convictions on his or her record. House Bill 31 would make any amount of alcohol in a habitual offender’s system a basis for DWI charges. The zero-tolerance policy for a third offense also includes the authority to suspend the offender’s license indefinitely.
The two bills had strong support in the House. Almost unanimously, representatives voted to pass the bills. They are now on their way to the Senate.
It was always a smart decision to fight your first DWI. If this law passes, it will become even more imperative.
Source: WFMY, “Bills Could Crack Down On Repeat Drunk Drivers In N.C.,” March 11, 2015