By: Melissa Hankins
Experts say there are thousands of people driving right here in Charlotte who shouldn't be. Among them--people convicted of drunk driving, reckless driving. But we've actually lost a law that helped protect us from those drivers. And no one we talked to today could tell us why.
"I am a fan of the old fashioned driving while license permanently revoked, which required or mandated a certain amount of jail time," says local lawyer Bill Powers.
Repping clients with revoked licesnes is Powers's bread and butter. But even he thinks our laws are too lax.
"It may be odd to hear a defense lawyer saying that, but I'm also a father. I'm also a husband," Powers says. "And I thought it was a pretty effective law, where a person's license was suspended permanently."
N.C. Highway Patrol couldn't say today why or when the law vanished. They just know it did.
"That was something really surprising as a practitioner," Powers says. "We'd dealt with it for a good number of years. Driving While License Permanently Revoked...and it just fell off the books. I don't know why. It doesn't make sense.
People who broke the old law..."if they were convicted, they got thirty days in jail, and that got people's attention as opposed to having this rolling cycle of driving, getting a ticket, driving again, getting another ticket."
A cycle Charla Davis knows all too well--she was charged with two counts of felony hit-and-run in connection with a crash last week that killed 40-year-old Ronne Gene Eudy. Davis turned herself in ten hours after the accident, but police are trying to prove Davis was drunk.
Drinking and Driving has landed Davis in trouble more than once. Yet she keeps climbing behind the wheel.
"It starts to be a nightmare after a while," Powers says.
And one Ralph Ferrell won't wake up from. He raised Eudy.