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Wilmington Criminal Law Blog

Is there growing momentum for medicinal pot in North Carolina?

A sizable minority of American states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed legislation that legalizes -- with stated restrictions -- the use of medical marijuana within their borders. Two states have gone beyond that, with voters in both Colorado and Washington passing initiatives relatively recently that resulted in the legalization of recreational marijuana in those states (again, subject to some restrictions).

All previous attempts inside North Carolina to legalize or materially decriminalize marijuana possession for any reason have failed. State authorities continue to view pot possession harshly, with some first-time offenders facing potential jail terms and other penalties. Subsequent convictions can bring lengthy prison terms and lifelong adverse consequences.

NC police experiment with new domestic violence evaluative tool

Domestic abuse in North Carolina, as elsewhere, is a two-sided subject. On the one hand, there is no question in many instances that a victim has been injured --- sometimes fatally -- by abuse. On the other hand, it sometimes turns out to be the case that a domestic violence allegation has been made to influence a family law matter, such as a pending divorce or child custody case, with no factual basis to support it.

Allegations of domestic violence are always serious matters, whatever the cause or underlying truth, and failure to promptly and carefully investigate them serves to disservice all involved parties.

Study focuses on older motorists and impaired driving

Sometimes it might feel to persons in age-group demographics at both ends of the spectrum -- young persons and seniors, respectively -- that they just can’t catch a break in driving-focused studies.

The nation’s youngest motorists, of course, are widely perceived -- whether accurately or not -- as being comparative scourges on the nation’s roadways, with studies across a wide spectrum positing problematic driving behaviors for that age group.

Some of those criticisms and alleged “truths” have a basis in fact, some are overly generalized and some apply only to select members of the demographic.

North Carolina and New York: singular treatment of juveniles

A recent article appearing in the USA Today newspaper and reprinted in media outlets across the country makes manifestly clear while juvenile offenders charged with criminal offenses in North Carolina have a compelling need for strong and effective legal counsel.

Here’s why: North Carolina and New York stand alone as the only two states remaining in the country where 16- and 17-year-olds charged with criminal offenses are automatically shunted off into the adult criminal justice system.

Critics of that reality are many and diverse, ranging from legislators and criminal defense attorneys to children’s advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union.

North Carolina and New York: singular treatment of juveniles

A recent article appearing in the USA Today newspaper and reprinted in media outlets across the country makes manifestly clear while juvenile offenders charged with criminal offenses in North Carolina have a compelling need for strong and effective legal counsel.

Here's why: North Carolina and New York stand alone as the only two states remaining in the country where 16- and 17-year-olds charged with criminal offenses are automatically shunted off into the adult criminal justice system.

Critics of that reality are many and diverse, ranging from legislators and criminal defense attorneys to children's advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union.

National DWI/DUI roadside survey spooking Americans nationally

The uniformed cop standing on the pavement in front of you waves you off the road and into a parking lot, for no apparent reason. Then, without your consent, a so-called “passive alcohol sensor” is placed in front of your face, measuring blood-alcohol content. You are then asked about your drinking and driving habits, requested to take a breathalyzer test and additionally informed that you can make some money by providing blood and saliva samples and responding to written questions.

Might you be just a bit confused by that interaction?

More importantly, might you harbor reasonable doubts as to whether such a stop is even legal or whether adverse consequences would attach if you refused to stop, submit to any testing or flatly refuse to answer any questions?

New ruling may affect police search procedures

Without a search warrant, the Fourth Amendment generally prohibits police from entering a home after its owner has denied them access. Notably, a 2003 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that an occupant of a home can exercise this right, and consequently prevent police from lawfully entering, even if another person in the home would consent to the police’s entry.

Yet in a recent case involving the warrantless search of a home, the U.S. Supreme Court recently determined that a girlfriend had the authority to invite police into a home, even after her boyfriend had objected and been arrested.

Impaired driving in North Carolina

Readers are likely aware that driving while under the influence of an illegal narcotic can result in serious criminal penalties. However, a recent high profile case illustrates that driving under prescription drugs can also result in similar consequences if it impaired the driver’s abilities.

Under North Carolina’s impaired driving law, there are different penalties classified according to the type of drug. A substance like methamphetamine is a Schedule I drug. Yet a blood test may also detect prescription drugs in a driver’s system. That evidence, in conjunction with the arresting officer’s observations and/or the result of a field sobriety test, may seem like stacked evidence.

Disorderly conduct charges under North Carolina law

Disorderly conduct is an example of a misdemeanor offense that might result in probation under North Carolina law. The state's disorderly conduct law addresses a broad range of misconduct, empowering police officers with the discretion to make an arrest for nearly any behavior they consider disruptive or threatening.

For example, military personnel could be arrested while spending their leave or personal time at one of the nightly establishments in Wilmington. College students at Asheville, Davidson, Chapel Hill, Greenville or any of the state's college towns might find a night of blowing off steam ends in an arrest for disorderly conduct. In fact, simply disobeying the instructions of a police official might result in such an arrest.

After crash, Wilmington driver arrested for third DWI

North Carolina laws are not lenient on people convicted of drunk driving. A first-time offender could face jail time, and simply being charged with driving while intoxicated will get your license revoked for a month. Imagine, then, what kind of penalties you could be facing if you have been charged with a second, third or fourth DWI.

This is exactly the situation one man has found himself in after being arrested for his third DWI. Wilmington police responded to an accident on Park Avenue last week. The 31-year-old driver drove off the road and crashed into multiple telephone poles just before 1:30 a.m.