To prove impaired driving, the State must establish that the defendant drove a vehicle while impaired. A person drives when he or she is “actual physical control of a vehicle which is in motion or which has the engine running.” G.S. 20-4.01(25). Sometimes the State may establish driving through direct evidence. For example, a law enforcement officer or another witness may observe the defendant driving and may testify to that fact. In other cases, a law enforcement officer may encounter the person the officer believes was driving after the driving has concluded, perhaps in or near the car or at some other location. In those cases, the State may seek to establish driving based on circumstantial evidence. The Court of Appeals’ recent opinion in State v. Rouse, 2022-NCCOA-496, __ N.C. App. ___ (July 19, 2022), considers when such circumstantial evidence is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.
Everyone knows that it is unlawful to text while driving in North Carolina. But what’s the legal status of all of the other distracting things people do with their phones? Is it unlawful to take a selfie while driving? To post the selfie to Instagram? To look at a friend’s driving selfie on Instagram? To read another friend’s Facebook status update? To search the web for the latest weather forecast?
Fifteen years ago, the General Assembly enacted S.L. 1997-16, implementing graduated driver’s licenses requirements for people under the age of 18, who are termed provisional licensees. Pursuant to G.S. 20-11, driving privileges are granted to minors on a limited basis and are expanded as a provisional licensee meets additional requirements. The process is designed to … Read more
[Editor’s note: This post was revised slightly on January 25, 2011, in response to a helpful comment.] Here’s a quiz. Ashley Angel, who is 21 and a senior in college, leaves the library, where she has been diligently studying for mid-term exams for the previous six hours, to drive to a party a few miles … Read more
The New York Times recently published this piece on Google cars that drive themselves. And we’re not just talking about steering a straight line down the interstate. One car even navigated the hairpin turns on San Francisco’s famously curvy Lombard Street. The cars use navigation systems and software capable of sensing nearby objects and reacting … Read more
Among the most recent batch of opinions issued by the Court of Appeals was State v. Tellez, in which the court upheld the defendant’s conviction of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of felonious hit and run arising from a fatal car crash. Here are the facts: Defendant went to a party in … Read more
Editor’s note: The News and Observer has a point/counterpoint today about the merits of the new law against texting while driving. Check it out here and here. The New York Times reported recently that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced plans for a “‘distracted driving summit’” to be held in September to address legal and policy … Read more