A North Carolina man is facing felony drunk driving charges after law enforcement says that the man fell asleep in his car in Belmont, North Carolina. Authorities claim that the Gastonia man was driving in Belmont around 2:00 in the morning Sunday and ran into the ditch. Law enforcement believes that the driver passed out in his car with the engine still in gear.
It is not clear from a news account in the Gaston Gazette how long the car allegedly remained in the ditch while the man slept. A Belmont Police officer claims that the driver smelled of alcohol when he was found sleeping behind the wheel. Authorities arrested the driver and claim that he blew a 0.15 percent alcohol level in a breath test at the Gaston County Jail.
The man faces several charges including habitual DWI, DWI and driving with a revoked license. He was jailed under a ,000 secured bond.
Generally, people charged with DWI in North Carolina can face harsh consequences for any level of offense. Our laws include a complex array of grossly aggravating, aggravating and mitigating factors that may be argued. A person’s prior record may come into play at any level. But, when a person is charged with habitual DWI, the law requires a mandatory minimum 12-month sentence be imposed upon any conviction. That mandatory minimum means that a suspended sentence with probation is not on the table, if a person is convicted.
We have recently discussed habitual DWI issues as lawmakers are considering changes to the habitual offender law. At the current time, a person may face a habitual DWI charge if the person has three prior DWI convictions within the past 10 years, but the threshold may be lowered to two priors by lawmakers, as we have discussed.
Source: Gaston Gazette, “Man charged with habitual DWI,” Diane Turbyfill, May 5, 2013