NEW North Carolina Criminal Laws Effective 10/1/2014

The North Carolina General Assembly has made some changes to North Carolina’s criminal laws that will take effect on October 1, 2014.

Changes that are relevant to the substance covered in Learn Your Rights 101 blog relate to Session Law 2014-119, which modifies various criminal laws.

  • Session Law 2014-119
    • Expunctions of certain misdemeanors and felonies
      • The North Carolina General Assembly added four offenses that if committed by a person, will no longer qualify for expunction as a non-violent misdemeanor or non-violent felony offense. These offenses include:
        1. breaking or entering any building with intent to commit any felony or larceny;
        2. breaking or entering any building with intent to terrorize or injure an occupant of the building;
        3. breaking or entering any railroad car, motor vehicle, trailer, aircraft, boat, or other watercraft of any kind with the intent to commit any larceny therein; and
        4. an attempt to commit any of the above-listed offenses or any other offense already enumerated in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.5 (1)-(8).
    • Conditional discharge may occur whenever a person pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a Class H or I felony or a misdemeanor. The court may, on joint motion of the defendant and the prosecutor, and without entering a judgment of guilt and with consent of the person, defer further proceedings and place the person on probation for the purpose of allowing the defendant to demonstrate good conduct if the court finds:
      1. each known victim of the crime has been notified of the motion for probation and has been given an opportunity to be heard;
      2. the defendant has not been convicted of any felony or of any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude (any conduct that is contrary to community standards of justice, honesty and good morals);
      3. the defendant has not previously been placed on probation; and
      4. the defendant is unlikely to commit another offense other than a class 3 misdemeanor.
    • Conditional discharge for the Purpose of Drug Treatment Program. When a defendant is eligible for a Drug Treatment Court Program under Article 62 of Chapter 7A of the North Carolina General Statutes, the court may defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation without entering a judgment of guilt in order to allow the defendant to participate in and successfully complete the Drug Treatment Court Program.
    • Compliance with the terms of conditional discharge. The court may find the defendant guilty upon violation of a term or condition of conditional discharge. However, upon completing the terms and conditions of a conditional discharge, any plea or finding of guilt previously entered shall be withdrawn. The court must discharge the person and dismiss the proceeding against the person.
    • Possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly use, or to possess with the intent to use drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, package, repackage, store, contain, or conceal marijuana or to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce marijuana into the body. A violation of this new law will result in a Class 3 misdemeanor.
    • Penalty increase for inmate cell phone possession. Any inmate in the custody of the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety or an inmate in local confinement who possesses a mobile telephone or other wireless communication device shall be guilty of a Class H felony.
    • Remote video testimony by forensic and chemical analyst allowed. In any criminal proceeding, the remote testimony (method by which an analyst testifies from a location other than the location where the hearing or trial is being conducted and outside of the presence of a party or parties) of an analyst regarding the results of forensic test or chemical analysis shall be permitted if:
      1. the State has provided a copy of the report to the attorney of record or defendant (if no attorney);
      2. the State notifies the attorney of record or defendant (if no attorney) at least 15 days before the proceeding that the evidence would be introduced using remote testimony; and
      3. defendant’s attorney or defendant (if no attorney) fails to file a written objection with the court and prosecutor at least five (5) days before the proceeding at which testimony will be presented using remote testimony. If the defendant’s attorney or defendant (if no attorney) fail to file a written objection then remote testimony will be allowed.
    • Increase penalty for second offense of carrying a concealed weapon that is a firearm. Any person found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit for the second time will now be guilty of a Class H felony instead of a Class I felony.
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