Greensboro, NC -- North Carolina's driving while impaired laws are as tough as they'll likely get, one state senator said Tuesday.
In addition to being the Deputy Democratic Leader, Sen. Don Vaughan (D-Guilford) is a private defense attorney who sometimes represents people who are accused of driving while intoxicated. But he says that doesn't stop him from hoping drunk drivers, especially those who hurt or kill innocent people, get the toughest possible penalties.
"You need to go to prison [if you kill someone]," Vaughan said. "And in my opinion, we need to lock the door and throw away the key as much as we can, if [a conviction] is based upon a fair trial, fair evidence, a fair prosecution."
Last week, Alamance Co. District Attorney Pat Nadolski said he wishes North Carolina lawmakers would strengthen DWI laws. But Vaughan said he doesn't think that will happen because he believes legislators have made them as tough as they can under our state's constitutional guidelines. He cited law changes that have happened over the last few years, including Laura's Law, new penalties for people who tamper with Interlock systems and increased sentences for impaired drivers who hurt or kill people.
But if legislators can't make the laws tougher, how do we stop drunk driving?
"I would like to see more requirements for treatment, where these folk really get treatment and they don't become repeat offenders," Vaughan said. "And that's where I see the strengthening going."
He also said legislators will look at tweaking the laws if they can, and perhaps increase fines in hopes hitting people in the pocket will keep them from drinking and driving.
WFMY News 2