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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for February, 2020

Brunswick County, North Carolina

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Brunswick County is North Carolina’s southernmost county, with a 2010 census population count of 107,431 – ten years prior, the county only had 73,143 residents.   According to the United States Census, the estimated population in 2018 was approximately 136,744, making Brunswick County the 4th fastest growing county in the country!   

            Tourism is one of the biggest economy boosters in Brunswick County – Oak Island, Bald Head Island, Shallotte, and the beautiful beaches are areas of Brunswick County that attract people from all over the State.  The historic town of Southport has an old jail that has been renovated and turned into a museum, as well as a popular downtown area with waterfront seafood restaurants, shops, and breweries to explore.  Scenic areas around Brunswick County, as well as the location of EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, also helped attract the attention of movie producers to film scenes of movies such as “A Walk to Remember,” “Safe Haven,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and shows such as “Under the Dome” and “Sleepy Hollow.”

With tourism, especially in the summer months, crime can certainly follow.  From DWIs and drug charges, to traffic tickets, getting a citation should be the last thing on your mind when visiting a beautiful county like Brunswick, but it is possible.  We would like to please remind you to always follow the rules of the road – wear your seatbelt, drive at safe speeds, and never drive impaired. 

If you or a loved one seek legal representation in a personal injury claim (including automobile accidents, tractor trailer accidents, or wrongful death claims), then Collins Law Firm along with Attorney Mitch Baker can offer their 65+ years combined experience to effectively represent you. 

If you or someone you know receive a traffic ticket, or face a criminal charge in or around Wilmington NC in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, or Pender County, then Attorney David Collins can help.  He has over 25 years of experience in the legal field, and has successfully handled scores of criminal and traffic cases. 

Call us for a confidential consultation at 910-793-9000.  Collins Law Firm is available 24/7 by appointment. 

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

White-Collar Crime

Monday, February 24th, 2020

In 1939, the American Sociologist, Edwin Hardin Sutherland introduced the concept of white-collar crime, and defined it as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.”

While criminal prosecutions primarily take place on a state level, white- collar crimes are often prosecuted on the federal level, often because they are committed crossing state lines.

In the result of a white-collar crime, there is generally a financial gain at the expense of another, and there is no violence involved.

Some examples of white-collar crimes are: Fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, money laundering, employee theft, credit card theft, asset forfeiture, mail and wire fraud, and last but not least, extortion.

If charged with a white-collar crime one faces financial penalties, or even prison time, depending on the specific allegations. In many situations however, one’s professional license can be compromised in the result of a conviction or even just an investigation for an alleged white -collar crime.  Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as you become aware of an investigation or a charge pending against you.

If you are charged or investigated for an alleged white-collar crime in Southeastern North Carolina, in or around Wilmington, NC, in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, or Pender County, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

By Jana H. Collins

Move Over Laws and Penalties in Case of Violation

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

The sight of amber-colored flashing light or the sound of sirens tend to make us uncomfortable and often times drivers appear to be unsure about what they are expected or required to do. 

Upon the approach of an emergency vehicle “giving warning signal by appropriate light and by audible bell, siren or exhaust whistle, audible under normal conditions from a distance not less than 1000 feet”, North Carolina General Statue (N.C.G.S.) §20-157(a) provides that “the driver of every other vehicle shall immediately drive the same to a position as near as possible and parallel to the right-hand edge or curb, clear of any intersection of streets or highways, and shall stop and remain in such position unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement or traffic officer until the law enforcement or fire department vehicle, or … shall have passed. Provided, however, this subsection shall not apply to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of the vehicles herein enumerated when traveling on a four-lane limited access highway with a median divider dividing the highway for vehicles traveling in opposite directions, and provided further that the violation of this subsection shall be negligence per se. Violation of this subsection is a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

With respect to fire apparatuses, N.C.G.S. §20-157 provides in subsections (b), (c), and (d) that it is unlawful to follow too closely when it is traveling in response to a fire alarm, to park too close to where a fire apparatus has stopped to answer an alarm, or to drive a motor vehicle over or block a fire hose or any other equipment being used at a fire.

When an authorized emergency vehicle is parked or standing within 12 feet of a roadway and is giving a warning signal by appropriate light, N.C.G.S. $20-157(f) provides that:

  • 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 safely clear of 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.

With the amendment of N.C.G.S. §20-157 effective December 1, 2019, the penalty for those who violate the State’s Move Over Law causing serious injury or death by violating this section have increased—a violation resulting in damage to property or injury to a law enforcement officer or emergency response person is now a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-157(h), which carries a maximum punishment of 120 days;  a violation resulting in serious injury or death to a law enforcement officer or emergency response person is now a Class I felony pursuant to N.C.G.S. §20-157(i), which carries a maximum punishment of 24 months.

By Jana H. Collins, Office Manager