Cumberland County started in 2010 a special court to address the issue of repeat offenders of driving while impaired cases. This court has been named Sobriety Court. It was the first court of its kind in North Carolina and to my knowledge no other county has a court like this.
How does someone find themselves in Sobriety Court? There are three ways.
(1) acquire a second DWI while having a DWI pending,
(2) acquire a new DWI and have a prior DWI conviction within the last three years,
(3) acquire a new DWI and have two prior convictions in their criminal history.
How is Sobriety Court different then regular court?
Once in Sobriety Court, the judge will place conditions on your pre-trial release. Those conditions include and are not limited to (1) cannot use or possess alcohol while your cases are pending, (2) cannot use or possess any controlled substances, (3) abide by a mandatory curfew, (4) where an ankle bracelet 24 hours a day which checks for the use of alcohol and pay the fee for it, (5) not leave your house unless approved by the court, (6) make all court appearances which occur every two weeks, (7) submit to random drug and alcohol screenings, (8) not drive unless approved by DMV, and (9) attend all meetings with the sobriety court administrator.
Violation of any of these provisions could result in immediate incarceration by the Sobriety Court Judge.
How do you get out of Sobriety Court?
The way to leave Sobriety Court is dependent upon how you first entered the Sobriety Court program. If you were admitted into the program because you picked up a second DWI while your first DWI was pending, you MUST resolve BOTH Driving While Impaired Cases before you may be released from the program. If you entered the program because you received a DWI and had a prior DWI conviction within the past three years, then to be released from Sobriety Court you must resolve the new Driving While Impaired offense. If you were admitted into Sobriety Court because you had two prior DWI convictions on your criminal history (even if they occurred thirty years ago) and picked up a new Driving While Impaired offense, then you must resolve the new offense in order to be released from the program.
This article is meant for informative purposes and is only a brief overview of Sobriety Court . For more information contact attorneys David T. Courie, Sr., Mark L. Hearp, or Cristina S. Quantock at 910-323-4600 or 910-875-3379.