North Carolina State Delegates

State Delegate

John K. Fanney
NCDD National College for DUI Defense: John K. Fanney NCDD National College for DUI Defense: John K. Fanney

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DUI Laws


Summary of North Carolina Impaired Driving Statutes.

 

NOTE: Major legislative changes have been made to the DWI law of North Carolina. These changes will become effective December 1, 2006. Most of the major changes are noted following their respective sections below, but consult the new legislation in its entirety for complete versions of the new laws.

COMMON ACRONYM(S) USED TO DESCRIBE “DRUNK DRIVING”: DWI, Driving While Impaired/Intoxicated.

PROHIBITED VEHICULAR ACTIVITY: “A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle…”
One “drives” within the meaning of this section if he is in actual physical control of a vehicle which is in motion or has the engine running. Since “driver” is defined in G.S. 20-4.01 simply as an “operator” of a vehicle, the legislature intended the two words to be synonymous. 

“Actual physical control” has been found by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the following situations: defendant found asleep in the driver’s seat of car with the lights out and engine running at a stop sign; defendant seated behind the wheel of a car stopped on the handicapped or wheelchair ramp in a hotel parking lot, that turned the engine off himself when aroused; defendant seated in driver seat that started car to make the heater operable; admission by defendant that he had been driving even though not seen operating vehicle.
COVERED VEHICLES OR DEVICES: The North Carolina DWI statute applies to “any vehicle”. 

The term “vehicle” does not however include a device which is designed for and intended to be used as a means of transportation with a mobility impairment, or who uses the device for mobility enhancement, is suitable for use both inside and outside a building, including on sidewalks, and is limited by design to 15 miles per hour when the device is being operated by a person with a mobility impairment. Also, North Carolina statutorily excepts horses, bicycles, and lawnmowers for purposes of impaired driving offenses. But, the North Carolina Court of Appeals recently held that a stand-up, electric motorized scooter fails to fit within any of these statutory exceptions, and therefore is a vehicle for purposes of the impaired driving statutes. 

“Boating while Impaired” is a separate and distinct crime in North Carolina, and applies to not only to motor boats, but also to water skis, surfboards, nonmotorized vessels or similar devices.
NOTE: The new legislation, effective December 1, 2006, only excludes horses. The previous exclusions of lawnmowers and bicycles are omitted under the new N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.1.

COVERED LOCATIONS: “Driving any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State.” “Public vehicular area” is defined by statute in part as any area within the State of North Carolina that is generally open to and used by the public for vehicular traffic. The term “public vehicular area” shall not be construed to mean any private property not generally open to and used by the public. Recent appellate court decisions have held that the term does encompass parking lots of private businesses.

NOTE: The new legislation, effective December 1, 2006, alters the definition of “public vehicular area”. Instead of “generally open to…the public”, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-401 now defines the area as one “used by the public for vehicular traffic at any time”. The statute goes on to stress that whether a business or establishment is open or closed is irrelevant. 

IMPAIRED DRIVING OFFENSES:
Driving while under the influence of an impairing substance; or 
After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
“Under the influence” has been defined as when a person “has drunk a sufficient quantity of intoxicating beverage ‘to cause him to lose the normal control of his bodily or mental faculties to such an extent that there is an appreciable impairment of either or both of these faculties’.”

The operator of a commercial vehicle commits the offense of impaired driving if he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more. Statutorily, commercial motor vehicles have been defined as any of the following used to transport passengers or property:

a. A Class A motor vehicle that has a combined GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds and includes as part of the combination a towed unit that has a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds or

b. A Class B motor vehicle or

c. A Class C motor vehicle that meets either of the following descriptions: 

1. Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

2. Is transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Part 172, Subpart F.

d. Any other motor vehicle included by federal regulation in the definition of commercial motor vehicle pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Appdx. § 2716.

A “Class A Motor [***9] Vehicle” is [a] combination of motor vehicles that meets either of the following descriptions:

a. Has a combined GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds and includes as part of the combination a towed unit that has a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds.

b. Has a combined GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds and includes as part of the combination a towed unit that has a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds.

A “Class B Motor Vehicle” is: [a] single motor vehicle that has a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds [or a] combination of motor vehicles that includes as part of the combination a towing unit that has a GVWR of at least [*697] 26,001 pounds and a towed unit that has a GVWR of less than 10,001 pounds.

A “Class C Motor Vehicle” is “[a] single motor vehicle not included in Class B” or “[a] combination of motor vehicles not included in Class A or Class B.” 

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently held that simply detaching the trailer portion of a tractor-trailer does not change the nature of the vehicle or what it was designed or used to transport. Additionally, the court found that private use of a commercial vehicle does not alter its status. However, the court seemed to indicate that there must be evidence of the use of the vehicle or its weight in relation to the commercial vehicle statutory requirements, in order to support a finding that the vehicle is in fact a commercial vehicle. 

Commercial Vehicle operators are also subject to a lesser offense of “operating a commercial vehicle after consuming alcohol” if the person drives while consuming alcohol or while alcohol remains in the body. This same offense applies to the operator of a school bus, school activity bus, or childcare vehicle.
It is also unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle on a public highway or public vehicular area while consuming alcohol or at any time while alcohol or controlled substance previously consumed remains in the body. A controlled substance lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically appropriate amounts does subject the driver to this offense.

Habitual impaired driving is an offense that is punished as a felony in the case of conviction. One commits this offense if he drives while impaired and has been convicted of three or more offenses involving impaired driving within seven years of the date of this offense.
NOTE(S): Under the revised N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.1, effective December 1, 2006, “the results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration”.

Also, effective December 1, 2006, N.C. Gen Stat § 20-138.5 will define habitual impaired driving as the conviction of three or more offenses involving impaired driving within a 10 year period. 

PENALTIES FOR IMPAIRED DRIVING OFFENSES:
Level of punishment depends on aggravating and mitigating factors. The judge at the sentencing hearing must impose Level One punishment if two or more grossly aggravating factors apply. If only one grossly aggravating factor is present, the judge must impose Level Two Punishment.

The grossly aggravating factors are:

A prior conviction for impaired driving if the conviction was within seven years of the present offense; or the conviction occurs after the date of the offense for which defendant is presently being sentenced, but prior to or contemporaneously with the present sentencing. 
Driving with a revoked license at the time of the offense, and the license had been revoked pursuant to an impaired driving offense.

Serious injury to another person resulting from the defendant’s impaired driving at the time of the offense.

The presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
In the absence of any grossly aggravating factors, the judge will weigh aggravating factors with mitigating factors to determine the proper level of punishment. If the aggravating factors substantially outweigh any mitigating factors, Level Three is the proper level for punishment. If neither aggravating nor mitigating factors exist, or if they counterbalance, then Level Four punishment should be imposed. If mitigating factors substantially outweigh any aggravating factors, the judge should impose punishment in accordance with Level Five.

Aggravating Factors to be Weighed are:

Gross Impairment of defendant’s faculties or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or higher.
Especially reckless or dangerous driving.
Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident.
Two or more motor vehicle convictions within the last 5 years not involving impaired driving if at least three points were assigned to the driving or the license was subject to revocation.
Driving by defendant while his license was revoked.
Conviction for speeding by defendant while fleeing or attempting to elude apprehension.
Conviction for speeding by at least 30 miles per hour over the legal limit.
Passing of a stopped school bus.

Mitigating Factors to be Weighed are:

Slight impairment of defendant’s faculties resulting solely from alcohol, and an alcohol concentration that did not exceed 0.09.
Slight impairment of defendant’s faculties resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to defendant.
Driving at the time of offense was safe and lawful.
A safe driving record, with defendant having no convictions resulting in at least four points on his license or subjecting him to revocation of license. 
Impairment caused primarily by a lawfully prescribed drug taken within the prescribed dosage for treatment of an existing medical condition.
Voluntary submission by defendant to a mental health facility for assessment after being charged and voluntary participation in treatment if recommended by the facility.
Any other factors that mitigate the seriousness of the offense.

Other examples of mitigating factors N.C. courts typically consider are the attitude of the defendant with the arresting officer and military service by the defendant.

The five levels of punishment and the corresponding sentences are as follows: 

Level One Punishment — may be fined up to $4,000 and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than 30 days and a maximum term of not more than 24 months. The term of imprisonment may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed to require the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 30 days. If the defendant is placed on probation, the judge shall impose a requirement that the defendant obtain a substance abuse assessment and the education or treatment required by G.S. 20-17.6 for the restoration of a driver’s license and as a condition of probation. The judge may impose any other lawful condition of probation.

Level Two Punishment — may be fined up to $2,000 and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than seven days and a maximum term of not more than 12 months. The term of imprisonment may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed to require the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of at least seven days. If the defendant is placed on probation, the judge shall impose a requirement that the defendant obtain a substance abuse assessment and the education or treatment required by G.S. 20-17.6 for the restoration of a driver’s license and as a condition of probation. The judge may impose any other lawful condition of probation.
Level Three Punishment — may be fined up to $1,000 and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than 72 hours and a maximum term of not more than six months. The term of imprisonment may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the condition that the defendant: (1) Be imprisoned for a term of at least 72 hours as a condition of special probation; or (2) Perform community service for a term of at least 72 hours; or (3) Not operate a motor vehicle for a term of at least 90 days; or (4) Any combination of these conditions. If the defendant is placed on probation, the judge shall impose a requirement that the defendant obtain a substance abuse assessment and the education or treatment required by G.S. 20-17.6 for the restoration of a driver’s license and as a condition of probation. The judge may impose any other lawful condition of probation.

Level Four Punishment — may be fined up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than 48 hours and a maximum term of not more than 120 days. The term of imprisonment may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the condition that the defendant: (1) Be imprisoned for a term of 48 hours as a condition of special probation; or (2) Perform community service for a term of 48 hours; or (3) Not operate a motor vehicle for a term of 60 days; or (4) Any combination of these conditions. If the defendant is placed on probation, the judge shall impose a requirement that the defendant obtain a substance abuse assessment and the education or treatment required by G.S. 20-17.6 for the restoration of a driver’s license and as a condition of probation. The judge may impose any other lawful condition of probation.

Level Five Punishment — may be fined up to $200.00 and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than 24 hours and a maximum term of not more than 60 days. The term of imprisonment may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the condition that the defendant: (1) Be imprisoned for a term of 24 hours as a condition of special probation; or (2) Perform community service for a term of 24 hours; or (3) Not operate a motor vehicle for a term of 30 days; or (4) Any combination of these conditions.

A violator of the habitual impaired driving statute shall be sentenced to a minimum active term of not less than 12 months imprisonment, which shall not be suspended. The driver’s license will be permanently revoked and his vehicle becomes property subject to forfeiture.
NOTE(S): Under the new legislation, effective December 1, 2006, N.C. Gen. Stat § 20-179 dictates that either a judge or the jury in superior court must determine whether any aggravating or mitigating factors exist. Also, “the State bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that an aggravating factor exists, and the offender bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a mitigating factor exists”.

Further, under the revised N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-179, the 90 day license suspension under Level Three Punishment, the 60 day suspension under Level Four Punishment, and the 30 day suspension under Level Five Punishment are all eliminated from the statute. 
Also, the new N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-179(s) allows for more than 48 hours continuous imprisonment. 

Under the rewritten N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28(c4), where a person’s license was revoked for impaired driving, the “Division shall require at a minimum that the driver obtain a substance abuse assessment prior to issuance of a new license”, along with proof of financial responsibility. “If the substance abuse assessment recommends education or treatment, the person must complete the education or treatment within the time limits specified. If the assessment determines that the person abuses alcohol, the Division shall require the person to install and use an ignition interlock system on any vehicles that are to be driven by that person for the period of time set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-17.8(c).”
The new N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1374 requires that certain DWI defendants who are released from prison early be assigned community service parole or house arrest, if not paroled to a residential treatment program.

STATUTORY DRUNK DRIVING PRESUMPTIONS: “The present statutory scheme does not depend upon a presumption. The statute does not presume, it defines.” 

IMPLIED CONSENT LAWS:

Any person who drives a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area thereby gives consent to a chemical analysis if charged with an implied consent offense. 

Tests permitted: Chemical analysis of the breath must be performed by a certified analyst who is not the arresting or charging officer. A chemical analysis of the breath may be performed by an arresting officer or by a charging officer ONLY if the officer possesses a current permit for the analysis issued by the Dept. of Health and Human Services AND the officer performs the analysis by using an automated instrument that prints the results. 
Blood or other bodily fluid in addition to or in lieu of breath analysis may be requested pursuant to G.S. 20-16.2. Willful refusal of these tests is treated identically to a refusal of breath testing. Only a physician, registered nurse, or other qualified person may withdraw blood. The analyst who analyzes the blood shall complete an affidavit stating the results. Evidence of the analyst’s qualifications may be provided at trial by testimony of the charging officer or by affidavit (pre-Crawford). However, a recent Court of Appeals decision mandates that the analyst appear in court, subject to cross-examination for any subjective testimony against a criminal defendant. “We hold that laboratory reports or notes of a laboratory technician prepared for use in a criminal prosecution are nontestimonial business records only when the testing is mechanical, as with the Breathalyzer test, and the information contained in the documents are objective facts not involving opinions or conclusions drawn by the analyst.”

Type of advisement required: The defendant must be advised of the right to refuse testing and the penalties for refusal of testing, of the right to an independent test, of the right to communicate with counsel and others, and of the right to have a witness for any test.
Penalties for refusal: 30 days immediate revocation of driving privileges and an additional 1 year license revocation by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Before the one year revocation takes effect, the person charged must be given the right to a hearing before the Division of Motor Vehicles. The hearing must be conducted in the county where the charge was brought, and must be limited to consideration of whether: 
(1) the person was charged with an implied-consent offense; (2) the charging officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person committed the offense; (3) the offense involved death or serious injury; (4) the person was notified of his rights as required by statute; and (5) the person willfully refused to submit to chemical analysis upon request of the charging officer.

If all conditions are satisfied, the order of revocation must be sustained. However, if (1), (2), (4), or (5) is not met, the Division must rescind the revocation. If (3) is alleged in the affidavit but is not met, it must order the revocation sustained if that is the only condition not satisfied. 

No penalty for refusing preliminary breath test. 

Admissibility of refusal: Admissible in any proceeding arising out of same acts. Likewise, the defendant may introduce evidence that he did not in fact refuse to submit to testing. However, neither the State nor the defendant can introduce the conclusions of DMV on this issue at trial, as that is a disputed question of fact for the jury to hear. Also, where an officer erroneously told defendant that “refusal would result in an assumption of guilt against him in court”, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that the results of the test that followed were coerced and therefore should have been excluded at trial. 

Compelling of Chemical Analysis: If the person charged willfully refuses testing, none may be given under N.C. 20-16.2, but refusal does not preclude testing under other applicable procedures of law. The testing of blood and urine pursuant to a valid search warrant is an “applicable procedure of law”.

NOTE(S): In regard to who can administer chemical analysis of the breath, the revised N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1, effective December 1, 2006, provides that “any person possessing a current permit authorizing the person to perform chemical analysis may perform a chemical analysis”.

Also, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1(b6) has been added and states: “The Department of Health and Human Services shall post on a Web page and file with the clerk of superior court in each county a list of all persons who have a permit authorizing them to perform chemical analyses, the types of analyses that they can perform, the instruments that each person is authorized to operate, the effective dates of the permits, and the records of preventive maintenance. A court shall take judicial notice of whether, at the time of the chemical analysis, the chemical analyst possessed a permit authorizing the chemical analyst to perform the chemical analysis administered and whether preventive maintenance had been performed on the breath-testing instrument in accordance with the Department’s rules.”
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1(c) will allow for urine testing, in addition to blood testing as an alternative to breath analysis. The statute, effective December 1, 2006, will also authorize “emergency medical technicians” to withdraw the blood or obtain the urine sample.

The new legislation, effective December 1, 2006, addresses the types of advisement to defendants that is required. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-38.5, a new statute, says that the Chief District Court Judge, the Department of Health and Human Services, the district attorney, and the sheriff shall:

(1) establish a written procedure for attorneys and witnesses to have access to the chemical analysis room
(2) approve the location of written notice of implied-consent rights in the chemical analysis room in accordance with G.S. 20-16.2.
(3) approve a procedure for access to a person arrested for an implied-consent offense by family and friends or a qualified person contacted by the arrested person to obtain blood or urine when the arrested person is held in custody and unable to obtain pretrial release from jail.

The revised version of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2(e), effective December 1, 2006, will change the manner in which the superior court reviews license revocations pursuant to willful refusals. Under the revision, the superior court’s review will be limited to a determination of whether findings of fact and conclusions of law by the Commissioner are supported by sufficient evidence in the record. This is a drastic change from the current statute, which mandates a de novo hearing by the superior court. 

The entire N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2 was edited and rewritten to “clarify and simplify the implied-consent law”. Worth noting are revised notification requirements for the accused. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2(a), effective December 1, 2006, will require that “before any type of chemical analysis is administered the person charged shall be taken before a chemical analyst authorized to administer a test of the person’s breath or a law enforcement officer who is authorized to administer chemical analysis of the breath, who shall inform the person orally and also give the person a notice in writing that:

(1) You have been charged with an implied-consent offense. Under the implied-consent law, you can refuse any test, but your drivers license will be revoked for one year and could be revoked for a longer period of time under certain circumstances, and an officer can compel you to be tested under other laws.
(2) The test results, or the fact of your refusal, will be admissible in evidence at trial.
(3) Your driving privilege will be revoked immediately for at least 30 days if you refuse any test or the test result is 0.08 or more, 0.04 or more if you were driving a commercial vehicle, or 0.01 or more if you are under the age of 21.
(4) After you are released, you may seek your own test in addition to this test.
(5) You may call an attorney for advice and select a witness to view the testing procedures remaining after the witness arrives, but the testing may not be delayed for these purposes longer than 30 minutes form the time you are notified of these rights. You must take the test at the end of 30 minutes even if you have not contacted an attorney or your witness has not arrived.”

CHEMICAL TEST LAWS:

General provisions: The chemical analysis shall be performed according to methods approved by the Commission for Health Services by an individual possessing a current permit issued by the Department of Health and Human Services for that type of chemical analysis. Also, preventive maintenance must have been performed on the machine and sequential breath tests given, for the results to be admissible against defendant. 

Disclosure of test information: The test administrator shall record: (1) The alcohol concentration or concentrations revealed by the analysis and (2) The time of the collection of the breath sample or samples used in the chemical analysis. A copy shall be furnished to the defendant or to his attorney prior to trial or any other proceeding in which the results may be used against him. 

NOTE(S): N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-139.1, which sets out the procedures governing the admissibility of chemical analysis has also been rewritten. 

Under (b1) of the revised statute, “any person possessing a current permit authorizing the person to perform chemical analysis may perform a chemical analysis”.
(b6), a new addition to the statute, states “The Department of Health and Human Services shall post on a Web page and file with the clerk of superior court in each county a list of all persons who have a permit authorizing them to perform chemical analyses, the types of analyses that they can perform, the instruments that each person is authorized to operate, the effective dates of the permits, and the records of preventive maintenance. A court shall take judicial notice of whether, at the time of the chemical analysis, the chemical analyst possessed a permit authorizing the chemical analyst to perform the chemical analysis administered and whether preventive maintenance had been performed on the breath-testing instrument in accordance with the Department’s rules.

(c1), a new addition to the statute, states “The results of a chemical analysis of blood or urine by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Laboratory, the Charlotte, N.C. Police Dept. Laboratory, or any other laboratory approved for chemical analysis by the Dept. of Health and Human Services, are admissible as evidence in all administrative hearings, and in any court, without further authentication. The results shall be certified by the person who performed the analysis, and reported on a form approved by the Attorney General. However, if the defendant notifies the State, at least five days before trial in the superior court division or an adjudicatory hearing in juvenile court that the defendant objects to the introduction of the report into evidence, the admissibility of the report shall be determined and governed by the appropriate rules of evidence”.

(d1), a new addition to the statute, states “If a person refuses to submit to any test or tests pursuant to this section (authorizing blood and urine testing), any law enforcement officer with probable cause may, without a court order, compel the person to provide blood or urine samples for analysis if the officer reasonably believes that the delay necessary to obtain a court order, under the circumstances, would result in the dissipation of the percentage of alcohol in the person’s blood or urine.”

Changes have been made to (e) which say that “the failure to provide a copy prior to any trial shall be grounds for a continuance of the case but shall not be grounds to suppress the results of the chemical analysis or to dismiss the criminal charges.

Additions have been made to (e1)(5) that read “A subpoena for a chemical analyst shall not be issued unless the per

2012 Updates:

1. Graduated Scale of Penalties for Deaths Caused by DWI (Session Law 2012-165)

            Repeat felony death by vehicle is a Class B2 felony.  Aggravated felony death is now sentenced in the aggravated range for the defendant’s prior record level.  Felony death by vehicle is now a Class D felony.  Modifies N.C.G.S. § 20-141.4(b)

2. Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Systems (Session Law 2012-146/House Bill 494)

            This act allows for the use continuous alcohol monitoring system systems as a condition of pretrial release, probation, to mitigate punishment for impaired driving, and to ensure compliance with child custody and visitation orders.  Modifies N.C.G.S. §§ 15A-534(a), 15A-534(i), 15A-534.1(a)(2) , 15A-1343(a1), 15A-1343(b), 15A-1343(b1), 15A-1343.3, 20-179, and 50-13.2.

3.  DWI Custodial Interrogation Amendments (Session Law 2011-329/Senate Bill 241)

            This is an act that requires DWI sentencing to be at Level One if the offense occurs with any of the following in the vehicle: a child less than eighteen years old, a person with the mental development of a child less than eighteen years old, or a person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle.  This fits into N.C.G.S. § 20-179(c) and also amends the law regarding electronic recording of custodial interrogations.

4. Obtain Blood Sample / Implied consent Laws (Session Law 2011-119/ Senate Bill 16)

            Requires law enforcement to request a blood sample under the State’s implied consent laws from any person criminally charged in any case involving death by vehicle and certain other offense.  It further requires law enforcement to seek a warrant if the driver refuses and if the officer has probable cause to believe the offense involved impaired driving.  Incorporated into N.C.G.S. § 20-16.2(a1) and N.C.G.S. §20-139.1)(b5).

5. Laura’s Law (Session Law 2011-191/House Bill 49)

            This increases the punishment for DWI offenders with three or more grossly aggravating factors.  It also authorizes the Court to require continuous alcohol monitoring for some offenders and to increases court costs for DWI offenders.  Under the Aggravated Level One punishment, a defendant can be fined up to $10, 000 and shall be sentenced to a prison term of not less than 12 months but not more than 36 months.  This can only be suspended if a condition of special probation is imposed to require the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 120 days.  This modifies N.C.G.S. § 20-179

6. Checking Station Pattern Selection ( Session Law 2011-216/House Bill 381)

            This act prevents law enforcement agencies from establishing patterns for vehicle stops at checking stations based on a particular type of vehicle.  An exception is that officer may designate commercial vehicles.  Incorporated into N.C.G.S. § 20-16.3A.

7.  Forensic Sciences

            Creates the North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board and specifies the membership composition.  It also changes the accrediting institution for forensic analysts from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Testing.  It updates the State disclosure requirements to include the data, calculations, or writings of any matter or evidence submitted for examination.  Finally it creates penalties for any person who willfully omits or misrepresents evidence.    Modifies N.C.G.S. §§114-16.1, 8-58.20, 15A-903, 114-16

8. Modify Graduated License Requirements (Session Law 2011-385/Senate Bill 636)

            This concerns civil license revocations.  One of the stipulations is that a court imposing a revocation following a DWI conviction may not give credit for any other revocation period imposed for something else.  This is N.C.G.S. §20-13.3.

 

9.  Increase Driver’s License Restoration Fee (Session 2010-130/Senate Bill 655)

            This act increased the fee for the restoration of a driver’s license revoked for DWI.  Per N.C.G.S. § 20-7(i1), the fee is now $100.

10. Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Systems (Session Law 2009-500/House Bill 926)

            This act allows for the use of continuous alcohol monitoring systems to meet the requirements for the restoration of a revoked license.  Part of N.C.G.S. § 20-19(d)(2), this allows a driver to submit to monitoring to prove he is abstaining for drinking alcohol.

11. Habitual DWI Reinstatement Petition (Session Law 2009-369/House Bill 1185)

            This act allows an individual convicted of habitual impaired driving to be eligible to petition for a hearing to restore driving privileges after ten years without any traffic or criminal convictions.  Modifies N.C.G.S. § 20-19.

12. Comply with Melendez-Diaz Decision (Session Law 2009-473/Senate Bill 252)

            This acts amends the State’s notice and demand statute to comply with the Melendez-Diazdecision.  The State must notify a defendant at least 15 business days before the proceeding where a chemical analyst’s affidavit will be used that it intends to introduce the affidavit.  The defendant must object in writing to the introduction of the affidavit five business days before the proceeding.  The act further explains the procedure for establishing the chain of custody of evidence subject to forensic analysis without calling unnecessary witnesses. 

13. Preservation of DNA and Biological Evidence (Session Law 2009-203/House Bill 1190)

            This act addresses the preservation of DNA and biological evidence related to criminal offenses by introducing measures to hold the SBI to account for evidence in their possession.