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LELAND, NC (WECT) – A man was convicted of habitual impaired driving Wednesday morning and sentenced as a habitual felon to serve a nine to 11 and-a-half-year prison sentence, according to a statement from D. Christian Thomas, Assistant District Attorney.
Officials say Wilbur Brown of Leland was stopped by a police officer in November for suspicion of driving while impaired. Brown failed a sobriety test and had a blood alcohol concentration of .10.
Brown was then arrested, and had been released from the NC Department of Corrections eight months before. Prior to his November arrest, he had seven misdemeanor DWI convictions and convictions for felony drug and property crimes.
Brown didn't even have a license when police arrested him for his eighth DWI, giving the district attorney's office reason to file more severe charges.
The district attorney's office presented Brown as a habitual felon to the Grand Jury upon learning of his previous convictions.
Under the North Carolina Habitual Felon Act, the state pursued a sentence greater than the two-year maximum term that would usually apply.
Those convicted for DWIs are some of the few who can still be paroled in the North Carolina justice system.
A first-time sentence could be given as little as 24 hours of community service. To be considered a habitual DWI offender, you have to be convicted four times in less than a decade.
Because of Brown's past convictions, District Attorney Jon David says he was beyond treatment.
The director of New Hanover County's DWI treatment court program says that there is a need for more treatment options, and that anyone with a drunk driving problem also has an alcohol problem.
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