Local News

N.C. Releases DWI Conviction Rates

Posted August 11, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It's common knowledge that drunk driving is a big problem, but did you know that if you do drink and drive you may get off depending upon where you live? The Alcohol Drug Council of North Carolina has just released DWI conviction rates based on counties and judicial districts.

According to these statistics, there's a wide discrepancy among convictions for drinking and driving in North Carolina. For instance, in 1995 and 1996 Cumberland county had the lowest conviction rate in the state at about 29 percent. Buncombe County, on the other hand, had the highest conviction rate at 74 percent.

Advocates for safer roads say it's judges and attorneys who make all the difference.

Council President Bob Goodale was never involved in a drunk driving accident, but he knows how close he came. That's why he wants the public to know just how many of these drivers are getting arrested and then getting off scot free.

In its new report, the council has released information about DWI convictions based on judicial districts.

Karyn Brown, director of the NC chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says the public needs to be outraged and act on it.

Many police officers and members of the highway patrol say they are frustrated by the system as it works now. Many times, they say, they make arrests and then the cases are thrown out of court. Often they arrest the same people over and over again -- people who never actually get convicted.

There has been news legislation passed this year to help control drunk driving, but many say the laws will do no good if they aren't enforced and if those arrested aren't punished.