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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for November, 2014

Road Rules to Remember During Thanksgiving Travel

Monday, November 24th, 2014

With an improved economy and gas prices at a five year low, we will experience an increase in Thanksgiving travel this year.  AAA Carolinas expects the increase to be of more than 4 percent compared to Thanksgiving of 2013.

Travel however will be impacted by a major winter storm which will initially spread heavy rain and embedded thunderstorms across the Florida peninsula but will move north and northeast, paralleling the east coast beginning Tuesday night.

Therefore, in order to ensure safe travel, we should be aware of the road rules.  Besides the requirements to follow the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and burn your headlights, there are some more rules which appear not to be known so well:

  • The Fender Bender Law

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-161 motorists are required to move their vehicles to the shoulder of the road following a minor, non-injury crash.  The failure to do so could result in a $110 fine and court costs.

  • The Move over Law

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-157 motorists are required to:

  • Move the vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing authorized emergency vehicle or public service vehicle and continue traveling in that lane until it is safe to clear the authorized emergency vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has at least two lanes for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching vehicle and if the approaching vehicle may change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
  • Slow the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the vehicle at a reduced speed and be prepared to stop until completely past the authorized emergency vehicle or public service vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has only one lane for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching vehicle or if the approaching vehicle may not change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

A failure to obey by this law could result in a $500 fine.

  • The Keep Right  Law

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-146(b) vehicles traveling a multi-lane roadway at less than the legal maximum speed limit shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for thru traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the highway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn.  A violation of this law is an infraction pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-176 (a) and if convicted, North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicle would assess 2 driver’s license points pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-16 (c), or 3 driver’s license points if the violation occurred during the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Cellphone Use by Drivers Younger than 18

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-11 drivers under the age of 18 may not use a cellphone when operating a motor vehicle except in case of an emergency to call 9-1-1.  Violators may have to pay a $25 fine.

  • Texting While Driving

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-137.4A motorists are prohibited from using their mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail.  A violation of this law may result in a $100 fine.

We wish you all safe travel and Happy Thanksgiving!

However, should you or someone you know receive a citation for a traffic violation in Southeastern North Carolina, in or around Wilmington, NC in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, or Pender County, contact Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

By Jana Collins

Expunction of Record – Get a Second Chance

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Generally, the fact that one was charged with a crime remains on their record regardless of the disposition of the charge, unless the charge gets expunged. An expungement in North Carolina is the eradication of one’s criminal record by court order.  The effects of an expunction or expungement are outlined in N.C.G.S. § 15A-153 and include that upon expunction one may truthfully and without committing perjury or false statement deny or refuse to acknowledge that the criminal incident occurred.

Thanks to Hour Bill 1023 which went into effect on December 1, 2012, one can now even get a conviction expunged pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 as long as the offense was a nonviolent felony or misdemeanor:

(a) For purposes of this section, the term “nonviolent misdemeanor” or “nonviolent felony” means any misdemeanor or felony except the following:

(1) A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor.

(2) An offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.

(3) An offense requiring registration pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, whether or not the person is currently required to register.

(4) Any of the following sex-related or stalking offenses: G.S. 14-27.7A(b), 14-190.7, 14-190.8, 14-190.9, 14-202, 14-208.11A, 14-208.18, 14-277.3, 14-277.3A, 14-321.1.

(5) Any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the General Statutes where the offense involves methamphetamines, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver or sell and deliver cocaine.

(6) An offense under G.S. 14-12.12(b), 14-12.13, or 14-12.14, or any offense for which punishment was determined pursuant to G.S. 14-3(c).

(7) An offense under G.S. 14-401.16.

(8) Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the offense.

In order to qualify for an expunction under N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 one may not have other felony or misdemeanor convictions in any state and no previous expunction under this section or under any of the following sections:  N.C.G.S. §§ 15A-145, 15A-145.1, 15A-145.2, 15A-145.3, or 15A-145.4.  Further, a petition for expunction of record under this section shall not be filed earlier than 15 years after the date of the conviction or when any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later.  The costs for filing petition under N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 is $175.

If you feel you may be eligible to pursue an expungement in New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick Counties, North Carolina, call Collins Law Firm for a consultation at (910) 793-9000.

By Jana Collins, Office Manager