The DWI laws in North Carolina continue to get tougher and more friendly to the government. In a recent case, where a Magistrate was found to have violated the defendant’s rights by setting a secured bond on a DWI charge without making necessary findings to support setting the bond, the NC Court of Appeals said no irreparable harm was done. The case turned on the Court’s interpretation of access. No question, time is crucial in DWI cases as far as collecting evidence to prepare a defense. Once the State has collected it’s evidence the defendant is advised that he or she can on their own have an independent test done to determine his or her level of impairment. Further, access to family and friends should not be impeded by the State so as to allow the defendant timely collection of evidence to support a defense to the DWI charge. The Court stated in this case that the secured bond set by the Magistrate without necessary findings did violate the defendant’s rights. However, the Court maneuvered around established case law and ruled even though the defendant’s rights were violated, the defendant did not show that the violation created “irreparable prejudice” to her case. The Court stated that the defendant saw her friends waiting for her at the detention center and failed to ask them to come witness her Intoxilyzer tests. Further, she had her cell phone with her and was allowed to use it to retrieve numbers and call a witness. Based on these two factors the Court concluded that the defendant didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to collect evidence in her defense. Therefore, there is no showing of irreparable prejudice. However, the problem with that reasoning is defendants, even the well-educated, are somewhat in shock and intimidated by the whole process of being taken from the security of their car, arrested, placed in handcuffs, then taken to the County jail. Preparing a defense is not the first thing that comes to mind. Most defenses are realized by skillfully trained trial lawyers who discover this information from interviews with family members and friends that interacted with the defendant immediately after they were released and were still under the effects of alcohol. Hopefully for the preservation of our rights and fundamental fairness, this case law will be short lived (State v. Labinski, 654 S.E.2d 740 (2008)).