Proving That Blood Was Drawn by a Qualified Person

Earlier posts (here, here, and here) discuss the statutory and constitutional requirements for obtaining a sample of a defendant’s blood for analysis in an implied-consent case.  This post likewise addresses blood draws in such cases but addresses two narrower issues.  First, must the State establish that the blood was drawn by a qualified person before … Read more


Lee v. Gore: Round Two

I blogged here about the North Carolina Court of Appeals’ initial opinion in Lee v. Gore, ___ N.C. App. ___ (January 19, 2010), holding that DMV lacked authority to revoke the petitioner’s driving privileges for refusing a chemical analysis upon receipt of an affidavit that failed to allege a willful refusal.  DMV filed a petition … Read more

Not Responsible for Broken Windshields

As I pulled out of the parking lot after work the other day, I found myself immediately behind a dump truck. On the back of the truck was the following advisory: “Stay Back 300 Feet. Not Responsible for Broken Windshields.” I have often wondered whether such statements have any legal effect. I was particularly curious … Read more


State v. Hopper: Public Streets and Motor Vehicle Regulation

Jeff wrote here about the court of appeals’  April 20, 2010 opinion in State v. Hopper (Hopper I), which analyzed when an officer’s mistaken beliefs can support an investigative stop. The defendant in Hopper was stopped for violating G.S. 20-129(a)(4) by failing to operate the taillights on his vehicle when the windshield wipers were in … Read more


State v. Simmons: New Trial Granted on DWI Charges Based on State’s Improper Reference to State v. Narron

The court of appeals in State v. Simmons, ___ N.C. App. ___ (July 20, 2010), decided this week, awarded a new trial to a defendant convicted of impaired driving, finding that the prosecutor made improper and prejudicial remarks in his closing argument.  The court found a substantial likelihood that these comments led the jury to … Read more


Expert Testimony Regarding Impairment

Rule 702(a1) was enacted in 2006 (effective for hearings held August 21, 2006 or later) to render admissible two types of expert testimony on the issue of impairment:  (1) testimony regarding the results of a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test; and (2) testimony from a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) regarding whether a person is … Read more


The $600 Lab Fee

I’ve heard a few recurrent questions recently regarding the imposition upon a defendant’s conviction of a $600 fee for support of the State Bureau of Investigation or for law enforcement purposes of a local government unit that operates a crime laboratory. First, is such a fee discretionary? Second, does it apply if the SBI laboratory … Read more

Failure to Signal When Required

Under G.S. 20-154(a), “before starting, stopping or turning from a direct line [, a driver] shall first see that such movement can be made in safety . . . and whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give a signal as required” by law. A violation of this … Read more


Proving Knowledge of a License Revocation

Driving while license revoked (DWLR), a Class 1 misdemeanor, is one of the most frequently charged criminal offenses in North Carolina.  And, while certain elements of the offense are spelled out in G.S. 20-28 and are relatively straightforward—namely that the person (1) operated a motor vehicle, (2) on a highway, (3) while the person’s license … Read more


DWLR Based upon an Ignition Interlock Violation

Last month, the North Carolina court of appeals decided State v. Graves, No. COA09-595 (March 16, 2010), a case involving the defendant’s appeal from his convictions for felony speeding to elude, driving while license revoked (DWLR), reckless driving to endanger, and impaired driving.  The court vacated the defendant’s conviction for DWLR on the basis that … Read more