About the Habitual DWI statute and the Governor’s DWI Initiative

Griffin Law, PLLC
Apr 26, 2022

Drivers with repeat convictions for driving while intoxicated (DWI) face harsh penalties in the state of North Carolina.

One of the more severe penalties for repeat offenders occurs through the Governor’s DWI Initiative.

The Habitual DWI statute

The Habitual DWI statute raises the felony level for drivers with three DWI convictions during the past seven years. Under the statute, the habitual DWI offender must serve a minimum of one year in jail. There is no way to suspend this sentence. The offender must also participate in a substance abuse program either while behind bars or during parole.

The Governor’s DWI Initiative

Repeat DWI offenders must face the Governor’s DWI Initiative. This provision became effective in 1999 and added weight to the already strict DWI laws in North Carolina. Essentially, the statute allows authorities to seize the vehicles of repeat DWI offenders, sell them and give the proceeds to the local school system. The school system can keep the vehicles or sell them, keeping the proceeds for their own use. Also, if law enforcement charges a driver with DWI and that person’s license was revoked because of a DWI offense, the officer can seize the vehicle at the time of the arrest.

Next steps

Someone facing a DWI charge in North Carolina can rely on legal guidance. Were errors made in the arrest? An advocate can launch a thorough investigation into the circumstances. For example, a law enforcement officer must have a chemical analyst permit to perform a breath test and the equipment must be in good working order. Mistakes happen, and a driver arrested for DWI has the right to expect the best defense strategy possible.

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