North Carolina v. Roberts – Reporting Suspected Drunk Drivers

Over the holidays, Santa isn’t the only one who makes a naughty list.
During the last holiday season in North Carolina, law enforcement officers throughout the state arrested 3,164 people for drunk driving during the annual holiday “Booze It & Loose It” campaign, which ran from Dec. 13, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014. There were additionally 11,6,500 traffic and criminal citations issued statewide during that time, including 32,700 speeding violations and 4,050 drug charges.

When police agencies engage in these kind of enforcement actions, it’s a form of proactively attacking the drinking and driving issue – known to be especially prevalent over the holidays. It’s not only up to police to take action on this problem. Of course, people should never drink and drive. But they do. And when that happens, it’s on the citizens of North Carolina to report it.

Our Greensboro accident lawyers recognize this kind of approach can seem a bit extreme, especially when the drunk driver is a friend or acquaintance. But not only is there a strong chance you will save their life, but you are acting to protect the hundreds of other innocent people – including children – who will cross their path as they head to their next destination.

One such case was recently reviewed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In North Carolina v. Roberts, defendant appealed his drunk driving conviction on numerous grounds relating to the administration of the breathalyzer test he was given. The appellate court affirmed the conviction, but it’s worth noting he might never have been caught in the first place had it not been for two passersby.

According to court records, it was a January evening when the passersby noticed defendant in the parking lot of a grocery store. He was walking slowly and unsteadily and appeared to be having trouble finding his car. Observing this, a man approached defendant and asked if he needed help. Defendant reportedly failed to make eye contact with or even acknowledge the man. According to the passerby, defendant was “wasted.”

After noticing the defendant had an armful of beer in his hand, passerby enlisted the help of another man to attempt to prevent defendant from getting in his vehicle and driving away. As this was happening, a state trooper arrived in the parking lot and the two men flagged him down.

As the trooper spoke to the men, defendant walked to his vehicle, put the beer in the back and walked away. Trooper stayed for a while to see if he would return. He did. He got into his car, started it up and drove away. The trooper followed close behind, observing him cross the fog line twice and then run a red light.

Defendant was placed under arrest for impaired driving, and his blood-alcohol level was later found to be 0.19 percent an hour after the stop.

He was later convicted of DWI and the conviction was affirmed.

Action such as that taken by the two alert passersby are critical in the fight against drunk driving this holiday season. Already over the Thanksgiving holiday, the North Carolina Highway Patrol reports 17 people were killed on state roadways. That’s up from 10 last year, and it’s believed at least half are attributed to impaired drivers.

If you spot a potentially intoxicated driver while traveling, call 911 immediately.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
3,164 arrested for drunk driving in North Carolina over the holidays, Jan. 15, 2014, By Holly Henry, WTKR News Channel 3

More Blog Entries:
N. Pac. Ins. Co. v. Stucky – Loss of Consortium Claims After Crash, Nov. 26, 2014, Greensboro Crash Lawyer Blog

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