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Habitual DWI offenders could petition for their license under bill

Posted July 17, 2009
Updated July 7, 2010

— A bill on the governor's desk would allow habitual drunken drivers to petition to get their driver's license back after 10 years if they have stayed away from drugs and alcohol and have maintained a clean criminal record.

It's unclear if Gov. Beverly Perdue will sign House Bill 1185, but if it becomes law, it would go into effect Dec. 1 and last until Dec. 1, 2014 – a change to the bill that was ratified by the state Senate.

DWI offenders could petition for their license DWI offenders could petition for their license

Under North Carolina law, a habitual offender is someone who has been convicted four times of driving while impaired in less than 10 years. Once convicted, his or her license is permanently revoked.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, cosponsored the piece of legislation after hearing from people in the community who were convicted of habitual DWI years ago and have since changed their lives.

"These folks have cleaned up their act, so I think that's what's driving this," Harrison said. "Particularly in rural North Carolina, it's difficult to get around without an automobile, so, this is just a chance to give them a second chance."

Marcy Henly hopes the bill does not become law.

Her mother, Kay Stokes, was killed four years ago in a wreck in which Kenneth Wayne Maready's blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

Maready had stolen a car and fled from deputies who had pulled him over before crashing into Stokes' pickup truck, killing her and injuring her then-5-year-old granddaughter.

At the time of the wreck, Maready had a revoked driver's license and six DWI convictions on his record.

Maready is now serving at least 50 years in prison.

Henley does not believe habitual offenders should be given a second chance.

"If it's like a repeat, a continuing thing, no, they don't need their driver's licenses," she said. "Laws are supposed to be there to protect people. There wasn't no law there to protect my mama from dying."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Duke _Nukem Jul 20, 2009

    I bet ole Bev will sign it. Just scribble in on the bottom of the bill that if they get there license back and get another DWI(which some will), they get a state paid 5 year vacation in DOC. I would sign that.

  • jprime Jul 20, 2009

    At first I thought it sounded fair, but if you do have that many DWIs in that shot of a time, then you deserve to ride the moped. You already had enough "second chances"

  • twc Jul 17, 2009

    Oh great, another chance to maim and/or kill!

  • whatelseisnew Jul 17, 2009

    This is a tough one. If you have caused death or serious injury, then I say no, your license is revoked for life.
    If you are a repeat offender and you can prove you no longer drink or use drugs, then maybe yes. The problem is how can that really be proven.

  • BlowupDollWithChatAmbitions Jul 17, 2009

    My ex has over 20 DUI's in this state, without more than 2 weeks in jail with work release. He lives out of state off and on, so accumulating 10 years would be a piece of cake for him! NO! Do not allow this into law!

  • Travised Jul 17, 2009

    DO NOT allow this to become law. Others cannot drive due to medical reasons for the safety of others on the road. Why should we allow habitual convicted offenders that have had their license taken away to drive? If others can get around without a car so can they!

  • celong Jul 17, 2009

    like who's not going to drive for 10 years. bad law.

  • rogueleader Jul 17, 2009

    "this is just a chance to give them a second chance."

    Someone should help Rep. Harrison with his counting. After 4 DWI convictions, they've already had 3 chances. Driving is a privilege not a right.

  • Thought Criminal WS Jul 17, 2009

    4 times in 10 years.... and you should be dragged into a desert and put to work for life. I feel this way as no amount of "I'm sorry" brings back the dead.

  • They call me CATMAN Jul 17, 2009

    What is going on with this state.