Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police set up their second checkpoint in eight weeks on North Tryon Street Thursday night and once again found the top crime was people driving without a license.
Only this time, it was 19 people, nearly double the number arrested in February for the same offense.
The checkpoint was set up in the 9800 block of North Tryon Street and involved 21 officers. Police officials warned the community in advance the checkpoint would be in the area from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
A similar North Tryon checkpoint set up in mid February was in the 3300 block.
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Driving without a license has become a hot button topic in the city, as North Carolina wrestles with a growing population of undocumented immigrants who are not allowed by state law to get a driver’s license. Experts estimate there are 54,000 undocumented people living illegally in Charlotte, many of whom are not educated in the state’s traffic laws. It’s believed another 400,000 undocumented people are living in cities across the state.
A proposed North Carolina law, introduced last month into the General Assembly, calls for confiscating the cars of people caught driving without a license, until they can provide proof of a license.
House Bill 341 states that someone caught driving without a license will need to have someone come pick up their vehicle within one hour of being stopped, or the vehicle will be towed and stored for a fee. Currently, people caught driving without a license are issued a ticket.
The proposed law has been criticized by immigrant advocates as a way of further penalizing undocumented immigrants caught driving illegally in the state. Proponents see it as a traffic safety matter that will make roads safer.
Seventy tickets in all were written overnight at the checkpoint. Here are the top offenses:
No License: 19
Tag/Inspection Violation: 16
Suspended License: 12
Driving While Intoxicated: 6