02/24/12 — Judge pleads guilty to DWI

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Judge pleads guilty to DWI

By Gary Popp
Published in News on February 24, 2012 1:46 PM

SNOW HILL -- District Court Judge Lonnie Carraway of Walstonburg pleaded guilty this morning in Greene County District Court to driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.

Carraway was sentenced to 60 days in jail. The sentence was suspended by Judge Ann Salisbury of Wake County.

Carraway was charged Nov. 23 by the state Highway Patrol after he was pulled over by a trooper on Charlie Waters Road after his car ran off the highway. The trooper's reports said Carraway's speech was slurred and his body movement was impaired.

Carraway's tested blood alcohol content at the time was zero, prosecutors said this morning, but he was found to have the prescription drugs amipriptyline and zolpiben in his system at the time. The latter is a Schedule IV controlled substance commonly known as ambien, which is prescribed to help patients sleep.

Carraway's doctor testified that both drugs had been prescribed by him for Carraway.

In addition to his suspended sentence, Carraway was fined $100, told to pay court costs and ordered to perform 24 hours of community service. His driving privileges also were restricted to driving to and from work and to handle other household necessities. He can apply to have full privileges reinstated in a year.

Carraway had been placed under a $500 unsecured bond since the night he was arrested and taken to the Greene County detention center for processing.

Carraway will be allowed to continue to work as a judge, as he has the past few months while awaiting trial. But his work load has been reduced by Chief District Court Judge David Brantley, who removed him from DWI cases and cases heard in Greene County. Whether those restrictions will remain was not immediately known.

After the decision was rendered, Carraway expressed relief at the culmination of events.

"I'm just glad to get it done and start my 12 months running," Carraway said.

Carraway has filed for re-election and faces challenges from two local attorneys.