Yesterday was opinion day at the court of appeals. And while it wasn’t officially designated as DWI opinion day, several of yesterday’s opinions resolve significant and recurring issues in DWI litigation. Today’s post will cover the highlights.
North Carolina has a lot of habitual offender laws: habitual felon, violent habitual felon, armed habitual felon, habitual breaking and entering, habitual impaired driving, and habitual misdemeanor assault. A question that comes up is the extent to which these laws may permissibly interact with one another. Today’s post considers a few of the combinations I get asked about from time to time.
In North Carolina we have a fair number of habitual and repeat offender punishment provisions—laws that increase a defendant’s punishment because of crimes he or she has committed in the past. Today’s post considers how the prior convictions needed to establish those enhancements factor into the defendant’s prior conviction level.
Rabah Samara, the young man who took the wheel of the Cadillac after it crashed into and killed sports reporter Stephen Gates as he was changing a tire on I-40 in 2003 and drove away from the scene, was back in Wake County criminal court yesterday. Samara, now 37, plead guilty to misdemeanor impaired driving—resolving his fourth charge for that offense—and was sentenced to three years of probation and 14 days of imprisonment, which he may serve on weekends. The News and Observer reported that Stephen Gates’ mother, Pat Gates, watched Samara’s hearing from the front row of the courtroom.
G.S. 20-138.5(a) provides that “[a] person commits the offense of habitual impaired driving if he or she drives while impaired as defined in G.S. 20-138.1 and has been convicted of three or more offenses involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a) within 10 years of the date of this offense.” Unlike the habitual felon … Read more
by School of Government faculty members Jamie Markham and Shea Denning The folks at DOC combined records tell us they see a lot of habitual impaired driving judgments that look like this: 15 – 18 months, suspended, with an intermediate condition of special probation (i.e., a split sentence) requiring an active term of 12 months … Read more