North Carolina Legislative Session Over, Crime Bills a Mixed Bag

in Criminal Defense, on

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue signed several bills into law earlier this month that the state’s criminal defense attorneys have been following. The new laws will change penalties, for the most part. One new crime also enters the books.

One of the most important but, perhaps, least surprising laws brings North Carolina into line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision this year regarding mandatory sentencing for minors convicted of murder. The court struck down mandatory life sentences without parole for offenders under 18. The state’s response was to impose a minimum 25-year sentence for those offenders; parole is possible only after the 25 years have been served. Also in keeping with the court’s decision, the state allows judges to impose life without parole under certain circumstances; the judge may also hold a hearing to consider the individual case before deciding on a sentence.

The governor signed the bill allowing nonviolent offenders to expunge their criminal records if certain conditions are met. We discussed the bill in a post earlier this month.

An offender will no longer be able to commit multiple misdemeanor larcenies and face only misdemeanor charges. The crime of “habitual misdemeanor larceny” — that is, a larceny conviction following four or more prior larceny convictions — will be a felony as of Dec. 1, 2012.

Also as of that date, it will be a Class F felony in North Carolina to buy, surrender or sell a child. Another new law allows a judge to include an alcohol monitoring system as a condition of pretrial release.

And the governor vetoed a bill that amends the Racial Justice Act. We’ll discuss that in our next post.

Source: SFGate.com, “NC governor signs more bills left by lawmakers,” Associated Press, July 13, 2012