Former North Carolina trooper found guilty of medication DWI
A former North Carolina state trooper recently took his drunk driving charges to trial. The man was forced to retire after suffering an off-duty back injury. The 37-year-old reportedly says that he felt sick and was experiencing back pain Jan. 24, 2011.
He reportedly says that he took two prescribed medications to help him sleep and to control the pain. It appears that those two medications later became the basis for North Carolina DWI charges against the former trooper.
The man says that he remembers taking the prescribed codeine around 3:30 in the afternoon and an Ambien pill around 7:30 in the evening before going to bed that January night. The next thing that he remembers, according to the evidence at his DWI trial, is waking up in a magistrate’s office wearing his pajamas and pink slippers.
Prosecutors alleged that the man was driving a couple hours after he took the prescribed Ambien tablet and was in a car accident. The woman who was also in the crash says that the retired trooper told her a dreamlike tale about a strange investigation involving disguised cars, alcohol lights, helicopters and officers crashing into erratic drivers in some sort of crack down. The woman claims that the retired trooper showed his badge, but later said that he was retired.
The trooper was charged with impersonating an officer and DWI related to the alleged incident. Evidence was presented at trial Monday in Orange County District Court. The judge found the former trooper not guilty of impersonating an officer.
The judge found that the accused had duly admitted that he was retired and did not try to take advantage of his claim that he was an officer when he had displayed the badge. In acquitting the accused of the impersonation charge, the judge also said, “I believe the defendant was not in the state of mind to form criminal intent,” according to the Burlington Herald-Sun.
However, the judge did not acquit the defendant of the DWI charge. The judge reportedly reasoned that the defendant had not communicated with medical professionals about his codeine prescription when he obtained a later prescription for Ambien. The judge found the former trooper guilty of DWI related to the prescription medications.
The man was sentenced to a suspended 30 day jail term, with a fine, fees, court costs and community service. The man’s driver’s license was also taken, but he may be able to obtain limited driving privileges, according to the Herald-Sun.
Source: Burlington Herald-Sun, “Ex-trooper guilty of DWI,” Beth Velliquette, April 24, 2012