After months of deliberation and court appeals, a decision has been made in a DWI case we've been following. It involves a North Carolina man who wanted his DWI conviction dismissed because he says his constitutional rights were violated, but a superior court judge didn't agree. Over the past year, dozens of DWI cases have been in legal limbo due to errors in the court system, but, after ruling late this week, there will be less leeway for DWI cases to be thrown out on a technicality. In January 2007, 24 year old Charles Rippetoe was charged with drunk driving in Wrightsville Beach, but when the case went to court, a judge tossed it out because a magistrate court judge didn't file a required form at the time of Rippetoe's arrest. The paperwork mishap opened the door for defendants to use as a legal loop-hole to get their cases thrown out. However, a superior court judge ruled Friday that omitting the document isn't a question of violating the constitution, just a mere technical error that doesn't warrant the case being dismissed. After a number of appeals from the state, this ruling is considered a significant win in a ongoing battle. Now, some 83 DWI defendants will have their day in court. New Hanover County District Attorney, Ben David says with the new ruling, guilty defendants won't be able to run from justice. The state now believes with all the confusion cleared up, future DWI cases will go through the court system smoothly.
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