DWI charges being dismissed for trooper arrested in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — DWI charges filed against a NC State Trooper who was arrested in Wilmington over the weekend are being dismissed.

Dennis Tafoya, 53, was arrested on Saturday around 3:30 a.m.

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A Wilmington Police Officer and Sheriff Deputy from the Downtown Task Force came across Tafoya’s vehicle on Princess Street near the Federal Courthouse, according to WPD. When officers approached the car they found dash-board lights on and Tafoya in the driver’s seat.

Wilmington Police says the charges are being dismissed Friday, after an in-depth investigation revealed that Tafoya’s vehicle engine was not running during the initial contact.

North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.1. states Impaired driving.



(a)        Offense. – A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:

(1)        While under the influence of an impairing substance; or

(2)        After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration;

The law defines “Driver” or “Operator” as a person in actual physical control of a vehicle which is in motion or which has the engine running. The terms “operator” and “driver” and their cognates are synonymous. Neither of these were present during the initial stop.

Tafoya will not face any additional charges.