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Charlotte Criminal Defense Law Blog

Man facing drug charges after police pursuit

A 21-year-old North Carolina man is facing a raft of charges including seven counts of drug trafficking after allegedly attempting to flee from police on the afternoon of Oct. 26. The Raleigh resident is being held without bond at the Wake County Detention Center. His bond was originally set at $1.02 million, but a judge ordered him remanded after learning that he had violated the conditions of his parole.

According to a police report, the pursuit began when a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper attempted to pull over a Cadillac sedan for erratic driving on the westbound lanes of Interstate 40. Instead of pulling over, the Cadillac is said to have continued onto Interstate 440 at a high rate of speed. The trooper called off the pursuit in the vicinity of New Bern Avenue because of heavy traffic in the area.

NTSB calls for standardized roadside drug tests

A growing opioid crisis and marijuana decriminalization has led to a surge in drivers impaired by drugs in North Carolina and around the country, and the National Transportation Safety Board says that regulators should respond to the problem by providing more assistance to states and drafting standards for roadside drug testing devices. The NTSB asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take these steps in an Oct. 16 statement that was prompted by the investigation into an accident in Texas involving a drug-impaired driver that claimed 13 lives in 2017.

According to NTSB data, the number of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents who subsequently tested positive for drugs rose from 30 percent in 2006 to 46 percent in 2015. NHTSA figures reveal that random roadside testing reveals evidence of drug use about 22 percent of the time. However, there is currently no standardized test that police officers can use to determine drug impairment.

Ways a DUI conviction can impact employment

Impaired driving comes with severe consequences in North Carolina. Even a Level V offense can result in up to 60 days in jail and a $200 fine. 

However, depending on how extreme the offense was, a DUI conviction can lead to many more far-reaching punishments that follow you throughout your life. You need to fight charges to keep a conviction off your record, or you could have a hard time in the future holding down a job. 

Defenses to drug charges

Defendants who are facing drug possession charges could receive harsh penalties in North Carolina, including confinement in the state penitentiary and fines. Many people who are facing their first charge will end up pleading guilty and being placed on probation. If there are major problems with the state's case, it may possible to get it dismissed.

If law enforcement conducted an unlawful search, all seized evidence from the search may be suppressed. Police must obtain a warrant or consent if there is no emergency to justify a search of a home. Suppression of unlawfully seized evidence could result in a dismissal of drug charges if there is no other sevidence to support them.

FBI data finds increase in marijuana-related charges

On Sept. 24, the FBI released a report stating that more people around the country were being detained for marijuana possession even though it is legal in a growing number of states. Marijuana remains illegal in North Carolina.

According to the report, there were 653,249 incidents of people taken into custody on marijuana-related charges in 2016. In 2017, that number grew to 659,700. However, the overall number of people detained for manufacturing and sales dropped to 60,418 in 2017 from 65,734 in 2016. According to the report, more people are being detained for possession.

A county department head embezzles over $926,000

When a North Carolina county insurance company conducted an investigation into its Register of Deeds office, it discovered a bit of an irregularity. Over a period of four years, there was $2.3 million that wasn't accounted for. The office handles a large volume of legal document filings, many of which include fees often paid in cash. Authorities indicated the office lacked an established protocol or basic procedure for handling cash transactions. When other employees raised their concerns, the department head dismissed the issue.

In all, four county employees were charged. The department head's actions were deemed the most egregious due not only to the fact of the large sum of money misappropriated but also because of the duty of trust that was violated by the actions. The defendant reached a plea agreement with the prosecution. In addition to the restitution of the money, the judge ordered the woman to serve five to seven years in prison but allowed her to participate in the work release program. It allows a prisoner to leave prison during the day for employment obligations.

Video prompts North Carolina street racing charge

North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers took a 22-year-old man into custody on August 7 for taking part in a prearranged speed competition that allegedly took place in Wake County on July 15. Police are said to have been alerted to the man's alleged activities when an anonymous individual sent them a link to a video of a vehicle being driven at speeds of up to 198 miles per hour. The man is also facing speeding and reckless driving charges.

The video footage was posted to the popular social media platform Facebook. It shows a man behind the wheel of what appears to be a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The Hellcat boasts a 707 horsepower engine and was designed by Dodge to deliver a blistering performance. The video clearly shows the driver of the vehicle as well as the speedometer.

3 traffic tickets that may inflate insurance rates

It might not seem like a big deal to speed through a red light or disregard the speed limit when you are trying to get to your destination. In addition to the risk of injuring other drivers, though, actions such as these often result in traffic tickets and legal trouble — and both of these have a direct impact on the rate you pay for your car insurance. Some tickets are particularly harmful to the rates you pay.

The following are three of the worst tickets you can possibly get. Any of these are sure to skyrocket your insurance premiums and land you in some legal hot water, too. The best defense against such a predicament is to drive safely and obey all traffic laws.  

An overview of reckless driving law

When a person operates a motor vehicle in a dangerous or careless way, he or she could be cited for reckless driving. This is true even if a driver's actions don't result in an accident or cause property damage. Examples of reckless driving in North Carolina and most other states include speeding, running a red light or not stopping for a school bus when it is stopped.

Reckless behaviors may also include trying to race another vehicle or trying to evade a police officer. There are a variety of penalties that may be imposed on a person who has been convicted of reckless driving. For example, it is possible to receive points on a license or have a license suspended after being convicted on this charge. It is also possible to pay a fine or spend time in jail after a conviction on a reckless driving charge.

The impact of criminal penalties on social equality

By changing drug possession laws in North Carolina and other states, researchers believe that racial and ethnic disparities could be closed in the judicial and health care system. This was the takeaway from research published in the American Journal of Public Health. After Proposition 47 passed in California, the gap between the number of white people taken into custody and black people taken into custody fell.

The legislation reclassified certain felony drug offenses as misdemeanors. To come to this conclusion, a team studied data from the California Department of Justice's Monthly Arrest and Citations Register over a five-year period. In that time period, one million people were taken into custody for drug offenses. After Proposition 47 passed, the difference in blacks and white who were taken into custody dropped from 81 to 44 per 100,000 people.

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Steven T. Meier, PLLC
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Charlotte, NC 28203

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