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2019 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure

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Now that the North Carolina General Assembly has adjourned for the remainder of the year and most criminal law legislation has taken effect (which is often December 1 each year), it’s time to take stock of what passed this session. You can read summaries of all of the criminal law and related legislation here. Each summary provides a brief description of the act in question along with a link to the text of the act and, where available, links to blogs my colleagues and I wrote. As usual, the legislation spans a range of topics.

Here is a sample of the criminal laws enacted by the General Assembly this session:

  • new crimes, such as breaking and entering a pharmacy to steal a controlled substance (S.L. 2019-40), human trafficking offenses (S.L. 2019-158), and failing to report a violent or sexual offense against a juvenile (S.L. 2019-245);
  • increased punishments, such as a greater felony offense class for assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer (S.L. 2019-116) and a greater misdemeanor offense for assault on an Uber, Lyft, or other transportation network company driver (S.L. 2019-194);
  • procedures to implement the 2018 constitutional amendment on victims’ rights (S.L. 2019-216, as amended by S.L. 2019-243);
  • collateral consequences, including limits on consideration of a criminal conviction for occupational licenses (S.L. 2019-91) but also new disqualifications based on a criminal conviction (S.L. 2019-240);
  • additional funding for criminal justice needs, including testing of sexual assault kits (S.L. 2019-221) and implementation of the Raise the Age legislation (S.L. 2019-229); and
  • criminal justice studies, including one on the possibility of allowing sports betting in North Carolina (S.L. 2019-217).

The General Assembly reconvenes January 14, 2020 to take up unfinished business. In the meantime, please let me know, by comment or email, whether I missed or misstated anything so far. (Thanks already go to the ever-vigilant Office of General Counsel of the Administrative Office of the Courts, which every year clues me into legislative changes I might have otherwise missed.)

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