Recently I was asked to teach about sentencing in impaired driving cases. I thought the audience might want to know not just the law governing sentencing for impaired driving but also what sentences typically are imposed in those cases. For the latter, I turned to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission’s Fiscal Year 2020 Statistical Report on Driving While Impaired convictions. There one can find information about the percentages of impaired driving convictions sentenced at each of the six levels of punishment under G.S. 20-179, the types of sentences imposed by sentencing level, average sentence length for active and suspended sentences, and the average days of special probation (imprisonment) ordered by punishment level — among other data. Read on for highlights from the report, which contains data about convictions under G.S. 20-179 from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
Nearly 15 years ago, the General Assembly created the misdemeanor offense of failing to appear for two years for an implied consent offense. See S.L. 2006-253 (enacting new G.S. 20-28(a3), effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2006). The new provision was proposed by the Governor’s Task Force on Driving While Impaired in order to impose special sanctions for a person who fails to appear in court for this particular kind of motor vehicle offense. Those sanctions include driver’s license revocation for a person convicted of a violation of G.S. 20-28(a3)(2).
In the early years after the statute was enacted, there were many questions about which offenses it applied to. Offenses charged before December 1, 2004 for which the person had already failed to appear for two years before the statute’s effective date? Arguably not, for ex post facto reasons, as Jeff opined here. What about offenses charged a bit later for which the defendant already had failed to appear before December 1, 2006? Perhaps not, given the presumption of prospective application, as I wrote here. More recently questions have arisen about how to calculate the two-year statute of limitations for such an offense. Suppose, for example, a defendant was charged with DWI on January 1, 2017. The defendant failed to appear in court. On June 2, 2021, the State charged the defendant with failure to appear for two years after being charged with an implied consent offense. Does the two-year statute of limitations in G.S. 15-1 bar the prosecution?
NC DOT has published its analysis of data regarding vehicle crashes during the spread of COVID-19 throughout our state. The results may surprise you.
I wrote last week about the expiration of emergency orders that had temporarily halted clerks from reporting to DMV a person’s failure to appear or to pay monies owed in a Chapter 20 criminal or infraction case. When DMV receives such a report, it imposes a license revocation pursuant to G.S. 20-24.1, unless the person does one of the following before the revocation goes into effect:
- disposes of the charge;
- demonstrates that he or she is not the person charged with the offense;
- pays the penalty, fine, or costs ordered by the court; or
- demonstrates to the court that his failure to pay the penalty, fine, or costs was not willful and that he is making a good faith effort to pay or that the penalty, fine, or costs should be remitted.
Someone asked me recently about these sanctions for nonappearance and nonpayment — or incentives for appearance and payment — depending upon one’s perspective. How many revocations are imposed for failures to appear and failures to pay? Do other states have similar license revocation schemes? What other ways exist to incentivize appearance and payment?
It is somewhat rare for one of my children to know more about recently enacted legislation than I do. But it happened a few weeks ago when the General Assembly adopted legislation that allows my sixteen-year-old to get his driver’s license without taking a road test. This post will cover that legislation and other recent amendments to the state’s motor vehicle laws.
This post summarizes published criminal opinions of the Court of Appeals decided on July 7, 2020.
The General Assembly clearly was preparing for the future in June 2017 when it enacted regulations governing the operation of fully autonomous vehicles. Just two-and-a-half years later, that future has arrived on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. There, students, staff and visitors to campus can take a ride with CASSI, a driverless vehicle.