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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Fire chief had already been convicted of DWI charge; judge threw out appeal and conviction

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Fire chief had already been convicted of DWI charge; judge threw out appeal and conviction

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The latest on a story you saw ONLY ON 3 last night about the Oak Island fire chief whose DWI case was dismissed earlier this week by a Brunswick County judge. We found out today that John House was found guilty of that same DWI charge back in August.

Chief House appealed that August decision made in District Court. A judge granted him what is known as a trial de novo, which means the case gets a fresh, new start in Superior Court. That's when it made it's way to Judge Ola Lewis.

A Brunswick County Court clerk said House pleaded not guilty in District Court to the December 2008 DWI charge. Judge Jerry Jolly found House guilty and sentenced him to either 60 days in jail or 18 months unsupervised probation, along with court costs and community service. House appealed that decision.

For several months,the case made its way through Superior Court and was continued a number of times. Tuesday, when a prosecutor asked to continue the case and to hold the case open until a state trooper could get to the courthouse, Judge Lewis dismissed the case with prejudice and refused to provide an answer as to why she made her decision.

"The problem is that the state still has the ability to, if they want to, give some notice of appeal with regard to the way the new DWI laws are written." Lewis told WWAY as she left the courthouse Thursday.

But dismissing the case with prejudice means the state cannot never again try House on the DWI charge. District Attorney Rex Gore told us his office has no recourse against the judge's decision.

House's DWI charge remains on his record, but the conviction is gone.

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