Aiding and abetting DWI is illegal in North Carolina. In some ways, it is treated in the same manner as DWI itself. This blog explores what aiding and abetting impaired driving is, what situations may constitute this crime, and what the punishment for this crime is.
Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a DWI attorney.
What is aiding and abetting DWI?
A defendant aids and abets impaired driving when he knowingly advises, instigates, encourages, or aids another person to drive while impaired and his actions cause or contribute to the commission of the crime of driving while impaired (State v. Goode, 350 N.C. 247, 260 (1999)).
The defendant must know that the driver is impaired and then must in some way encourage or contribute to the impaired driving. Statements that the defendant makes can and will be used in court to demonstrate guilt.
What situations may constitute aiding and abetting DWI?
If the defendant turns his car over to an impaired driver and rides along as a passenger, this constitutes aiding and abetting DWI. This is the most common scenario in which we see people arrested for the charge of aiding and abetting impaired driving.
If the defendant turns his car over to an impaired driver and does not ride along as a passenger, this may constitute aiding and abetting impaired driving.
If the defendant does nothing more than fail to prevent an impaired person from driving, they may not be convicted of aiding and abetting impaired driving.
Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 20-179, a person convicted of aiding and abetting DWI is subject to a Level 5 DWI punishment. DWI is sentenced from Aggravated Level 1 to Level 5, Level 5 being the least serious.
A Level 5 punishment may include 24 hours to 60 days imprisonment and up to a $200 fine (plus court costs). The active jail sentence may be suspended and the defendant may be placed on probation for a period of time (typically 12 months). If placed on probation, the defendant must abide by all terms and conditions of treatment, including completing a minimum of 24 hours of community and completing a substance abuse assessment and treatment.
If you or a loved one has been accused of DWI or of aiding and abetting DWI in North Carolina and you are in need of an attorney, contact us to discuss your options.