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Attorney Explains DWI Laws After NC Man Convicted Of 17th DWI

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One North Carolina man has racked up 17 DWI convictions.

55-year old Ronnie Dodd was sentenced this month in Buncombe County to 7 years prison. We asked an attorney Monday about how that is even possible.

Dodd got his first DWI conviction in 1983. This month he was sentenced to 7 years in prison in Buncombe County for a traffic stop in January.

Attorney Mark Stewart with the Burch Law Office in Greenville who handles DWI cases regularly says under our state's Fair Sentencing Act which was established back in the 80's, sentences are typically cut in half with good behavior while behind bars.

A DWI is typically a misdemeanor with the worst cases getting about 3 years of jail time.

A DWI becomes a felony when you've been labeled a habitual offender.

"You have to have 3 prior convictions for driving while impaired, and when you get your fourth, they will indict you as that's your habitual. That makes it your felony," said Stewart.

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore said Dodd has been labeled a habitual offender 3 times in his life already.

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A Swannanoa man has been sentenced to at least seven years in prison after he was convicted of driving while impaired for the 17th time.

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore told the Asheville Citizen-Times (http://avlne.ws/13Qvzj2 ) that 55-year-old Ronnie Dodd's blood-alcohol level was 0.24 - three times the legal limit for driving - when he was pulled over on Old U.S. 70 in January.

Moore says Dodd's first DWI conviction came in 1983. He has been sent away as a habitual DWI offender three times in his life. That charge requires a four impaired driving offenses within 10 years.

Moore says the case shows North Carolina needs tougher sentences for DWI convictions to act as a deterrent, especially with first convictions.


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