Legislative Update: Focus on Dwi - Sparrow Law Firm

A number of bills related to driving while intoxicated or impaired are winding through the North Carolina General Assembly. Laura’s Law is a fairly high profile example, but there are others. We don’t know what the chances are that any of these bills will become law, but it’s clear that legislators believe enforcement of impaired driving laws should go beyond sobriety checkpoints.

A bill regarding driving while impaired with a child in the car passed the Senate earlier this month. The bill would expand the law to include children under the age of 18, instead of the current age of 16. The proposal would also change the punishment level from Level Two to Level One. Level One carries more jail time and heftier fines. The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee now.

Laura’s Law, as you’ll recall, proposes the creation of Aggravated Level One DWI for offenders when three or more grossly aggravating factors are present. Conviction would mean 12-30 months in jail, without the possibility of parole, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. The bill also addresses continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM), notably removing the current 60-day limit. We talked about the bill in our March 28 post, when the bill had passed the House. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee a couple of weeks ago but has not yet been considered there.

Under current law, a driver who has been convicted of DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 must use an ignition interlock device when driving privileges are restored. A House bill would require an interlock system for every vehicle of everyone convicted of DWI — the BAC would not need to be any more than the legal limit of 0.08. The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee and has not been scheduled for a hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has a bill on its roster that would require all “breath-testing sites” — including sobriety checkpoints — and law enforcement vehicles to be equipped with video recorders. Each traffic or checkpoint stop related to DWI would have to be recorded.

We’ll keep tabs on these proposals until the session adjourns.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly, Legislation, accessed 04/26/11