So say two statutes enacted by the General Assembly in 2011 as part of its revision of North Carolina’s self-defense law. G.S. 14-51.2(e) and G.S. 14-51.3(b) both state that a person who uses force as permitted by those statutes—in defense of home, workplace, and vehicle under the first statute and in defense of self or others under the second statute—“is justified in using such force and is immune from civil or criminal liability for the use of such force . . . .” What does this protection mean in criminal cases? No North Carolina appellate cases have addressed the self-defense immunity provision. This blog post addresses possible implications. Continue reading
Category Archives: Crimes and Elements
When I think of unlawful racing, scenes from old movies come to mind. I see guys (more specifically, James Dean and John Travolta) in white t-shirts and leather jackets behind the wheels of vintage Fords and Mercurys. Unfortunately, however, unlawful racing has not been relegated to the past. There were nearly 500 charges for unlawful speed competition in North Carolina last year, a misdemeanor offense that can result in the revocation of a person’s driver’s license as well as the seizure of the motor vehicle driven—not to mention serious injury or death.
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(Author’s note: This post has been amended since its initial publication.)
My kids spend lots of time during the summer at our local YMCA, where this day of the week is known as Wacky Wednesday. On Humpday, many of us at the School of Government think of a retired colleague who greeted everyone in the building with a “Happy Wonderful Wednesday!” Whether you deem today’s blog post wacky or wonderful–or just plain weird—it addresses a question that continues to cross the minds of many in the state and which was posed to me a few weeks ago. Fortunately, there is a clear answer. (Spoiler alert: If you’ve visited the beach lately, you likely know what it is.)
The General Assembly amended G.S. 14-208.18, the law that makes it a Class H felony for certain registered sex offenders to go certain places. The changes are a response to Doe v. Cooper, a federal case in which the trial judge enjoined every district attorney in the state from enforcing the parts of the law he found to be unconstitutional. Today’s post takes a look at the revised law. Continue reading →
Laws governing the operation of mopeds have changed significantly in recent years. Mopeds now must be registered before they may be driven on state roadways, and the owner of the moped must have insurance. An overview of the current legal requirements for moped operation is set forth below. Continue reading →
The man who authorities say was operating the boat that crashed into 17-year-old Sheyenne Marshall while she was knee-boarding on Lake Norman on July 4, 2015, killing her, faces charges for boating while impaired, a Class 2 misdemeanor, operating a vessel in a reckless manner, a Class 2 misdemeanor, and involuntary manslaughter, a Class F felony. After the accident, Marshall’s family lobbied the legislature for stiffer penalties for impaired boating. Less than a year after Marshall was killed, the General Assembly enacted Sheyenne’s law, which increases the penalties for impaired boating that causes death or serious injury to another. Continue reading →
Last week, the state supreme court unanimously ruled that a provision of North Carolina’s cyberbullying statute, G.S. 14-458.1, “violates the First Amendment.” The case is State v. Bishop, and the opinion is here. I previously wrote here about the court of appeals ruling upholding the statute. This post summarizes the case and discusses the new opinion. Continue reading →
Memorial Day weekend isn’t technically the beginning of summer, but it feels like it. Temperatures rise and many families head east toward water on Friday afternoons. That’s what my family did last Friday. Given that I try to stay reasonably informed about the law and I read my local paper, I thought I was well prepared to keep all of us on the beach and out of the slammer through the course of the weekend.
It turns out that there are a lot of rules that responsible adults and parents can break on vacation. I’m not just talking about bedtime rules and no-ice-cream-before-dinner rules. I’m talking about the criminal kind—the ones that can land you in jail or at least in a district court down east on a hot Monday morning. I’ve written about a few of these rules before. And this recent article in the News and Observer put everyone on notice that children under 16 cannot drive golf carts. But I’ve recently learned a new rule: You cannot have a mixed drink on the beach. Continue reading →
It is a federal crime for a person who has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a gun. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means a misdemeanor that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon,” and that is committed by a person with one of several specified relationships to the victim. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33). Late last year, the Fourth Circuit ruled that North Carolina misdemeanor assault convictions generally don’t satisfy that definition. Continue reading →
When news broke last week that 21-year-old Orange County resident Ali Iyoob had been bitten by his “pet” King Cobra, I had three thoughts.
- Who has a pet King Cobra?
- Where does one find a King Cobra to keep as a pet?
- It can’t be legal to have a King Cobra in your house. Can it?
The first question is obviously rhetorical. The answer to the second question is: the internet (of course). To answer the third question, I had to do a little research (on the internet, of course).