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Attorney, judge disagree over offered defense in DWI/DUI case

The word "egalitarian" just seems to logically arise with great frequency in drunk driving stories.

And it seems to be an especially appropriate in DWI/DUI cases in North Carolina and across the nation when an unusual person is on the receiving end of police scrutiny.

Like, say, a young teen driver. Or a politician with decidedly harsh views on drunk driving laws. Or a doctor. Or a church choir leader.

Or a nun.

Yes, many nuns, too, have an occasional drink of alcohol, just as do people from virtually every walk of life. A recent media story chronicles how one nun's -- and there is really no other way to put this -- really bad night out resulted in a DUI conviction.

The sister's interaction with a police officer began after a long car ride she took that she stated she could not remember. She crossed a state line and ultimately crashed into the door of an auto shop.

The state judge who heard her case was not sympathetic to the sleep-driving defense she asserted in court against the DWI/DUI charge. He said that governing law in the matter did not recognize such a defense.

What the nun specifically contended was that she coupled a glass or two of altar wine with the sleep drug Ambien. Her defense stressed that she was sleep driving, and not drunk.

And her attorney agreed with that, noting it following the case outcome. He brought up a point that many people might view as reasonable, pointing to "a carved-out exception when you have no knowledge of what you're doing because you took a legitimate prescription medication."

That is different, he noted, from a case where a person merely sits at a bar and ultimately climbs into his or her car after having imbibed several drinks.

The judge did not see it that way.

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