Did you know that you can be charged in someone else’s DWI case without even being behind the wheel? In North Carolina, you can be held accountable for “aiding and abetting” in someone else’s DUI, which means that if you are knowingly contributing or encouraging the illegal activity, you are considered part of the crime.
What Is Aiding and Abetting in a DWI?
According to State v. Goode, a person is guilty of aiding and abetting impaired driving when they:
- Knowingly advise, encourage or assist another person in driving while impaired, and
- Their actions cause or contribute to the commission of a DWI crime.
The intent to aid does not have to be expressed verbally but rather implied based on the person’s actions relating to the actual perpetrator. In cases where a bystander is a friend and knows their presence alone will be regarded by the perpetrator as an encouragement and protection, presence alone may be regarded as an encouragement.
Can a Passenger Get a DUI in North Carolina?
Yes, and no. Just because passengers can not get charged with driving under the influence in North Carolina does not mean that they are entirely off the hook by law enforcement in the event of a crash. For instance, if you knowingly allow an intoxicated or otherwise impaired family member, friend, or peer to drive a motor vehicle while traveling as a passenger, you would be charged with aiding and abetting a DWI in North Carolina.
However, if a person hands keys to an intoxicated driver but does not join them as a passenger in the car, that person may not be charged with aiding and abetting in a DWI case. Additionally, a person will not be charged with aiding and abetting in a DUI case when they did nothing more than failing to stop or prevent an intoxicated person from getting behind the wheel.
North Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Who Are On Your Side
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to an intoxicated driver, the car accident attorneys at Henson Fuerst may be able to help. You may be entitled to significant compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Let us guide you in the right direction towards a speedy and stress-free recovery. Submit a contact form on our website or call our office at 919-781-1107 today for a free consultation of your case.