Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Wilmington councilman Charlie Rivenbark pleads guilty to driving while impaired

Charlie Rivenbark was arrested in May for a DWI and pleaded guilty in court last week. (Courtesy photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Last Monday, July 18, City of Wilmington councilman Charlie Rivenbark pleaded guilty to the charge of a level-five DWI.

Rivenbark was arrested at almost 2 a.m. on May 11 in Leland after driving while impaired. His blood alcohol level was a 0.11, over North Carolina’s legal limit of 0.08.

Rivenbark revealed in a statement he was returning from Myrtle Beach due to a medical emergency.

“My son is a quadriplegic and his health and wellbeing are my top priority,” Rivenbark explained in a statement in May. “Later that evening, I made the decision to leave Myrtle Beach and come home to be with him and to help his mother. I did not think that I was impaired. In hindsight, it was not the right decision but it was the one I made based on the knowledge that he was in pain. I accept responsibility for my actions and I am truly sorry for this situation I have created.”

The 74-year-old was pulled over due to improperly maintaining lane control and was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Center. He was released with a written promise to appear as his bond.

Rivenbark originally was scheduled to appear June 27 but the date was pushed. The judge ordered Rivenbark to pay $100 and almost $600 in court fees. He also will have to complete 24 hours of community service within 180 days and will receive 12 months of unsupervised probation.

Rivenbark has served more than two decades collectively on Wilmington City Council. He was first elected in 1993 and was re-elected to four-year terms in 1997, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021. In the most recent race, he was the second-highest vote getter with 16% of ballots cast in his favor.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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