You’ve got to know when to hold ’em

Magistrates walk a tight rope of sorts in setting conditions of pretrial release for defendants charged with impaired driving offenses.  In addition to taking into account all of the factors they must consider when setting conditions of pretrial release in any criminal case and setting conditions accordingly, see G.S. 15A-534, magistrates who set conditions of … Read more


Authorization for Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Expanded by S.L. 2012-146

Five years ago, the General Assembly authorized judges to require that defendants placed on probation for a Level One or Level Two impaired driving offense abstain from consuming alcohol for at least thirty but not more than sixty days as verified by a continuous alcohol monitoring system. Continuous alcohol monitoring systems (CAM) employ ankle transmitter … Read more


Pretrial Release – Part 4: Refusal to Provide Identification & Noncitizens

In the last in this series of posts on pretrial release I’ll address two issues that continue to create problems for judicial officials: defendants who refuse to identify themselves and setting conditions for noncitizens. Defendants Who Refuse to Identify Themselves Sometimes defendants refuse to identify themselves. Without knowing a defendant’s identity, it is almost impossible … Read more


Pretrial Release — Part 3: Limits on When and What Conditions May Be Imposed

As a general rule, and subject to local bond policy, the law gives judicial officials a great deal of discretion to determine the appropriate conditions of pretrial release. In some situations, however, the law limits that discretion. In my first post in this series I discussed situations where a defendant is not entitled to conditions. … Read more


Pretrial Release — Part 2: Who Sets Conditions? What Are the Options?

In my first post in this series, I addressed the issue of who is entitled to conditions of pretrial release. In this post, I’ll address who can set conditions and what pretrial release options are available. Who Sets Conditions Conditions of pretrial release are set by a judicial official G.S. 15A-532(a). Typically, conditions are set … Read more


Pretrial Release — Part 1: Who Gets Conditions?

Pretrial release didn’t used to be complicated. But over the last 10 years or so that’s changed, with the addition of exceptions and special procedures. In a series of posts, I’ll address some key issues about pretrial release. This post focuses on the basic question: Who gets conditions of pretrial release? As a general rule, … Read more


State v. Daniel Tees Up An Analysis of Prejudice

North Carolina’s implied-consent laws were substantially amended in 2006 to, in the words of the Governor’s task force recommending the change, “prevent dismissals under Knoll.” In State v. Knoll, 422 N.C. 535 (1988), the court ordered that charges of impaired driving against defendants in three separate cases be dismissed because the magistrate in each case … Read more

I Want a New Trial! Now What? A District Court Judge’s Authority to Act Following Entry of Notice of Appeal for Trial De Novo (Part I)

Jay Jones is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and given an unsecured bond of $1,000. He is convicted following a bench trial in district court. Noting that Jones is a prior conviction level III and has previously violated probation, the judge imposes an active sentence of 120 days. Jones enters notice of appeal in … Read more

GPS Tracking for Domestic Violence Offenders?

An interesting article in the New York Times, available here, talks about the increasing use of GPS tracking in domestic violence cases, either as a condition of pretrial release or as part of a probationary sentence.  The story indicates that twelve states have passed legislation designed to enable the use of GPS in such cases.  … Read more