Governor Signs Laura's Law, Increases Dwi Penalties - Sparrow Law Firm

We meant to continue our discussion of the death penalty bill, but we saw this announcement and thought it deserved immediate attention: North Carolina’s governor was scheduled to sign Laura’s Law this morning. The law will dramatically increase the penalties for drunk driving offenses.

Laura’s Law is, of course, named for the 17-year-old who was killed by a drunk driver in July 2010. The driver had three previous DWIs at the time of the crash. The teen’s death motivated her family to lobby lawmakers hard. Tougher DWI laws, they said, could have saved their daughter’s life.

Under the law, which goes into effect on December 1 of this year, repeat offenders will face 12 to 36 months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. They will also be required to wear a “continuous alcohol monitoring system” — commonly referred to as an ankle bracelet — for a minimum of four months. The ankle bracelet is also required for individuals charged under the new law who are out on bail. Finally, the bill adds a $100 court fee for these offenders.

As we noted in our April 26 post, the General Assembly has addressed driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired in a number of bills. One was presented to the governor earlier this week.

House Bill 761 contains several provisions. First, it will make tampering with an ignition interlock device a class 1 misdemeanor. The bill also allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to request criminal background checks on individuals who are applying for reinstatement, following revocation, of their driver’s license.

Earlier this month, the governor signed Senate Bill 16, expanding the scope of the implied-consent law to include misdemeanor death by vehicle offenses. Drivers may refuse any test under the implied consent law, but their license will be revoked for at least a year.

Sources: (Charlotte, NC), “Mothers fight becomes reality with signing of Lauras Law,” 06/23/2011

North Carolina General Assembly,