Habitual DWI Offenders May Get A 5th Chance

If passed, House Bill 1185 would put habitual drunk drivers back on the roads provided they meet certain standards.

The person must have a clean record for the past 10 years and they can not have alcohol in their blood while driving for the next seven years.

As of now, once you get a fourth conviction for drunk driving you lose your license for life. But this bill would allow those convicted four times to be able to seek a permit from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 25-20 and is expected to be voted on in the House sometime this week.

"I think it sends the wrong message," says Beaufort County District Attorney Seth Edwards, "When a person has demonstrated not once, not twice, not three times but four times, they have been convicted of driving while impaired. That's a serious safety issue for the citizens of North Carolina."

Edwards goes on to say,"For that person to be given another opportunity to get his or her license back in my opinion would endanger the law abiding citizens of this state."

The News And Observer quotes the sponsor of the bill, Ronnie Sutton, as saying, "This is something to allow a person who has had a real problem to straighten their lives out and hopefully find themselves on the straight and narrow."

"I love baseball," Edwards said, "And if you foul the fourth one off you get the fourth pitch. But if you have three strikes your out in my opinion."