New audit says Mecklenburg DWI dismissals are twice the state av - | WBTV Charlotte

New audit says Mecklenburg DWI dismissals are twice the state average


A state audit released this week shows district attorney's around North Carolina dismissed 23 percent of DWI charges in fiscal year 2011-2012. That audit shows the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office dismissed 47 percent in the same year.

Bruce Lillie oversees DWI cases for the DA in Mecklenburg County. He says the 47 percent figure is inaccurate.  Lillie says the fiscal year 2011-2012 audit includes other offenses, for example having an open container. He argues including those other charges inflates the DWI dismissal percentage.

"They're not at a 47 percent dismissal rate. That's just not what our numbers are," Lillie said

Lillie also said that when the state completed its audit, his office began using a new computer system that required him to enter DWI cases from 10, 15, and sometimes 20 years ago. Lillie says those cases are too difficult to prosecute and they also inflate the percentage.

"If you look at the number from the year before and the year after you're going to see what our numbers truly are," he said.

WBTV calculated the numbers and in fiscal year 2010-2011 the DWI dismissal rate was 19.7 percent, and in fiscal year 2012-2013 it was 18 percent.

Charlotte resident Craig Marek says any dismissal rate is troubling. His 23-year-old son, Ian, died in Florida after being hit by a drunk driver.

"I think that's still too high," Marek said.

Marek says even though his son was killed in Florida, he pays close attention to local DWI cases and is upset with the way many are handled.

"Whether someone shoots somebody or they kill them with a car because they were drunk, what's the difference? At the end of the day, someone is dead. A family mourns and yet there's no attention to it," he said.

The woman who hit and killed Ian Marek is serving a 10 year sentence in Florida. Bruce Lillie says DWI cases are a big priority for his office and will continue to be a priority.

To read the audit, click here.

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