Before you go out and celebrate this weekend, did you know you can still be charged with DWI even if you are a passenger? In North Carolina, you can. According to UNC School of Government, the charge is called the aid and abet DWI.
Essentially, the law claims that you are an accomplice because you were aware that the driver was impaired and still allowed and encouraged them to drive. You already know driving under the influence can land you behind bars, but in North Carolina, you can also be charged if you are a passenger. When you provide the instrument, that is the car for them to go and commit the offence of driving while impaired, you could be charged.
It is more common than you might think. It may be a controversial law that has been brought before the state court several times. However, the charge almost always ends up getting dismissed. Generally, your defense to this crime can be you did not know that that person had had too much to drink to drive a car because you had been drinking yourself. So, you were also impaired. Law enforcement often use this law to teach people a lesson. A lot of times it gets dismissed, but they do that just to remind you that you might not be doing the right thing by handing over your car keys to someone else.
It is a charge most people have never heard of until they are faced with it. Aiding and abetting DWI is a misdemeanor charge and is not as serious as an actual DWI. But it still could end up costing you a lot of time and money. It is something you cannot pay off. You do have to come to court.