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Archive for the ‘Misdemeanors’ Category

Browsing Post with the Tag: Misdemeanors

Think Twice Before Using a Fake ID

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

fake-idYou may want to think twice before using a fake ID in New Hanover or Pender County from now on.  Starting October 1, you will face more penalties in court if you are caught using a fake ID.

District Attorney Ben David announced some changes to the underage drinking deferred prosecution program dealing with fake ID’s to try to make things a little bit more serious.  Today, the program includes a requirement where defendants have to go to New Hanover Regional Medical Center on a Friday night to be exposed to some of the trauma resulting from drinking and driving. They also are required to spend a couple of hours in DWI treatment court for educational purposes. In addition to these requirements, those who are charged with a fake ID offense after October 1st will have their license taken by the court for 60 days.

These changes are not only put in place to do things such as combat identity theft, but also to save lives.  Statistics show that other states that also enforce these types of programs have seen a 7% reduction in fatal accidents. When put into perspective, that is equal to saving one young person’s life per week.

Some people under the age of 21 pay nearly $200 to order a fake ID online and are giving away crucial information to their identity such as their social security and license number. Not only do these things put them at risk for identity theft themselves, but it is very dangerous. These ID’s have become extremely difficult to spot in the recent years, but bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. are starting to crack down and become better at detecting fake ID’s.

We encourage all high school and college students in New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, and surrounding counties to be safe and never purchase or use a fake ID. However, should you find yourself in trouble and need to hire a lawyer or know of someone who does, Collins Law Firm can help. Give us a call at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

 

By Kimberlin Murray, Legal Assistant

 

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

Heroin on the Rise

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Heroin is a highly physiologically addictive narcotic derivative of morphine but has a higher potency than morphine. C.R. Alder Wright – an English chemistry and physics researcher in London – was the first to synthesize heroin in 1847. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.” The name Heroin stems from Bayer, the German Pharmaceutical Company. Bayer named the first diamorphine product Heroin and made its first fortunes in the late 1890s when it commercialized heroin as cough, cold and pain remedy.

The medical use of heroin is prohibited in the United States, because its unwanted effects, i.e. miscarriages, heart infections, and death exceed its values. Heroin however is used illicitly for its euphoric effects and its use is on the rise nationwide.

In the eastern part of North Carolina, law enforcement officials report that the use of heroin, especially amongst high school students, has increased immensely as it has not been seen in decades. For example, while the Police Department of Wilmington, NC, had 12 people arrested for carrying heroin in 2003, the number was almost twenty times as high in 2013 with 214 arrests.

The surge of heroin use appears to be the unintended side effect of the crackdown on the abuse of prescription drugs. While the crackdown on the prescription drug abuse resulted in a decrease of the illegal use of prescription drugs, it also caused some medications to become less available and thereby less affordable. Instead, many turned to a less pricy solution to get euphorically high – heroin.

Even though the use of heroin is at a historic high, experts predict that it has not yet reached the top as addicts are still to some degree able to obtain prescription drugs.

As heroin use may become more prominent in the nearer future, more people may get into a situation in which they may witness a drug related overdose that requires medical assistance. In such situations, limited immunity is extended to those, who seek medical assistance pursuant to N.C.G.S. §90-96.2.

As a heroin user, one does not only face medical and economic, but also legal consequences. Heroin is a Schedule II Controlled Substance pursuant to N.C.G.S. §90-90 (1) and its possession is punishable as a Class I felony pursuant to N.C.G.S. §90-95(a)(3). The sale of heroin is punishable as a Class G felony and the delivery or manufacture is punishable as a Class H felony pursuant to N.C.G.S. §90-95(a)(1).

If convicted of any of those charges, possible consequences are:

– Fines

– Jail or prison time

– Drug treatment/counseling

– Probation

– Difficult bread-winning

– Social stigma

– Permanent criminal record

If you or somebody you know are investigated or have been arrested or charged with a drug crime, you should seek legal counsel to examine all evidence and advise you as to whether accepting a plea deal or going to trial would be in your best interest.

If accepting a plea deal, participation in the Drug Treatment Court (hereinafter DTC) may be considered which is an intensive, highly structured program designed to identify and treat offenders whose criminal activities are generally related to substance abuse offered in 23 counties in North Carolina. Amongst those 23 counties are New Hanover and Brunswick County. In order to qualify for the participation in the DTC, the offender must:

  • be addicted to a chemical substance,
  • be willing to volunteer for the drug treatment court program, and
  • be eligible under the state’s structured sentencing system for a community or intermediate punishment as an alternative to active prison time.

The mission of the DTC is to break the cycle of drug addiction by offering the tools to stay clean. Amongst others, those tools include counseling, housing, school, and employment assistance.

At Collins Law Firm we handle drug charges in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender County, and we have successfully defended clients against all types of drug crimes. The experienced team at Collins Law Firm is here for you – just a phone call away at 910-793-9000910-793-9000 .

By Jana H. Collins, Office Manager

Fake ID and DL Suspension

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Southeastern North Carolina is an attractive area for young people to attend school either at UNCW or Cape Fear Community College.  Of course, the same young people also enjoy to live, work, play, and party for which our beaches and downtown areas provide a wide array of opportunities. However, much of the nightlife requires patrons to be 21 years of age.   For this reason, many youngsters either purchase fake IDs online or look to friends who are of age to use their IDs.

They do not realize that getting caught with a fake ID has serious consequences. The possession of a false identification or a fake ID alone warrants prosecution. Nonetheless, the original owner of the ID faces criminal liability as well.  If convicted of an offense involving a fake ID, N.C.G.S.§ 20-16(a)(6) provides that, one faces a mandatory suspension of their license by the Division of Motor Vehicles. In such reinstatement of one license or the issuance of a limited driving privilege or hardship license before the end of the mandatory suspension period is prohibited.

Attorney David Collins has almost 20 years of experience and represented countless minors, college students or others charged with a crimes involving  fake IDs successfully. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving a fake ID, call (910) 793-9000(910) 793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

By Courtney Hull, Intern at Collins Law Firm

Revocation of Drivers Licenses for Under Age Persons Violating Alcoholic Beverage Regulations

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

North Carolina Laws require the NC Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke an underage person’s license as required by G.S. 20-17.3 for violating various provisions of the alcoholic beverage regulations including aiding and abetting and attempting to violate certain regulations.  However, there are ways to legally avoid the revocation of your license if you are accused of violating these regulations.  Call Collins Law Firm for a consultation if you have any questions or need legal representation at:  910-793-9000.

Selected relevant statutes include:

North Carolina Statutes, Chapter 20. Motor Vehicles, § 20-17.3. Revocation for underage purchasers of alcohol

The Division shall revoke for one year the driver’s license of any person who has been convicted of violating any of the following:  (1) G.S. 18B-302(c), (e), or (f):  (2) G.S. 18B-302(b), if the violation occurred while the person was purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage; (3) G.S. 18B-302(a1).

If the person’s license is currently suspended or revoked, then the revocation under this section shall begin at the termination of that revocation. A person whose license is revoked under this section for a violation of G.S. 18B-302(a1) or G.S. 18B-302(c) shall be eligible for a limited driving privilege under G.S. 20-179.3.

North Carolina Statutes, Chapter 18B. Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages, Article 3. Sale, Possession, and Consumption, 18B-302. Sale to or purchase by underage persons

(a) Sale. – It shall be unlawful for any person to: (1) Sell malt beverages or unfortified wine to anyone less than 21 years old; or (2) Sell fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old.

(a1) Give. – It shall be unlawful for any person to: (1) Give malt beverages or unfortified wine to anyone less than 21 years old; or (2) Give fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old.

(b) Purchase, Possession, or Consumption. – It shall be unlawful for: (1) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess malt beverages or unfortified wine; or (2) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages; or (3) A person less than 21 years old to consume any alcoholic beverage.

(c) Aider and Abettor. (1) By Underage Person. – Any person who is under the lawful age to purchase and who aids or abets another in violation of subsection (a), (a1), or (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. (2) By Person over Lawful Age. – Any person who is over the lawful age to purchase and who aids or abets another in violation of subsection (a), (a1), or (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(d) Defense. – It shall be a defense to a violation of subsection (a) of this section if the seller: (1) Shows that the purchaser produced a driver’s license, a special identification card issued under G.S. 20-37.7, a military identification card, or a passport, showing his age to be at least the required age for purchase and bearing a physical description of the person named on the card reasonably describing the purchaser; or (2) Produces evidence of other facts that reasonably indicated at the time of sale that the purchaser was at least the required age. (3) Shows that at the time of purchase, the purchaser utilized a biometric identification system that demonstrated (i) the purchaser’s age to be at least the required age for the purchase and (ii) the purchaser had previously registered with the seller or seller’s agent a drivers license, a special identification card issued under G.S. 20-377.7, a military identification card, or a passport showing the purchaser’s date of birth and bearing a physical description of the person named on the document.

(e) Fraudulent Use of Identification. – It shall be unlawful for any person to enter or attempt to enter a place where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed, or to obtain or attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages, or to obtain or attempt to obtain permission to purchase alcoholic beverages, in violation of subsection (b) of this section, by using or attempting to use any of the following: (1) A fraudulent or altered drivers license. (2) A fraudulent or altered identification document other than a drivers license.

(3) A drivers license issued to another person. (4) An identification document other than a drivers license issued to another person. (5) Any other form or means of identification that indicates or symbolizes that the person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcoholic beverages under this section.

(f) Allowing Use of Identification. – It shall be unlawful for any person to permit the use of the person’s drivers license or any other form of identification of any kind issued or given to the person by any other person who violates or attempts to violate subsection (b) of this section.

(g) Conviction Report Sent to Division of Motor Vehicles. – The court shall file a conviction report with the Division of Motor Vehicles indicating the name of the person convicted and any other information requested by the Division if the person is convicted of any of the following: (1) A violation of subsection (e) or (f) of this section. (2) A violation of subsection (c) of this section. (3) A violation of subsection (b) of this section, if the violation occurred while the person was purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage. (4) A violation of subsection (a1) of this section. Upon receipt of a conviction report, the Division shall revoke the person’s license as required by G.S. 20-17.3.

(h) Handling in Course of Employment. – Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an underage person from selling, transporting, possessing or dispensing alcoholic beverages in the course of employment, if the employment of the person for that purpose is lawful under applicable youth employment statutes and Commission rules.

(i) Purchase, Possession, or Consumption by 19 or 20-Year Old. – A violation of subdivision (b)(1) or (b)(3) of this section by a person who is 19 or 20 years old is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(j) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a law enforcement officer may require any person the officer has probable cause to believe is under age 21 and has consumed alcohol to submit to an alcohol screening test using a device approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. The results of any screening device administered in accordance with the rules of the Department of Health and Human Services shall be admissible in any court or administrative proceeding. A refusal to submit to an alcohol screening test shall be admissible in any court or administrative proceeding.

(k) Notwithstanding the provisions in this section, it shall not be unlawful for a person less than 21 years old to consume unfortified wine or fortified wine during participation in an exempted activity under G.S. 18B-103(4), (8), or (11).

64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This weekend, April 6-10, 2011, is the 64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC, New Hanover County. The Festival is an annual celebration of Wilmington’s gardens and culture.  The festival covers five days of entertainment which includes: a parade, street fair, circus, concerts, pageantry, and all that is Southern. Beginning in 1948, the Festival has blossomed into an extended weekend celebration that attracts more than 250,000 people annually to the region including and surrounding New Hanover County, NC.
This year the festival includes a concert by the Avett Brothers!  The Avett Brothers is a folk rock band from Concord, North Carolina, comprised up of brothers Scott Avett and Seth Avett, who play the banjo and guitar respectively, and Bob Crawford who plays the stand-up bass.  When tickets went on sale for this show, they sold out within days.  The Avett brothers have quite a loyal following, and many people from around the Southeast will be coming to the Azalea Festival for the first time to see the show.
The Festival also includes the 127th annual Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars. The name refers to its dome interior which replicates a celestial nighttime sky. Billed as “the world’s largest circus under the big top,” the circus boasts costumed characters, acrobatics, death-defying stunts and an international cast of entertainers with their trained and exotic animals. However, the circus comes with some controversy.  According to bornfreeusa.org, the Cole Brothers Circus has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Cole Bros. Circus numerous times for failure to provide veterinary care, adequate shelter from the elements, and proper food and water, as well as failure to handle animals in a manner that prevents trauma and harm and ensures public safety.  In past years, protesters have greeted patrons at the entrance of the parking lots with pictures of animal cruelty related to the circus.  This year, the protesters will also likely be back.
While the Azalea Festival is a fun family friendly event, drinking alcohol is part of many of the events, and in the revelry many people will be charged with alcohol related crimes including open container, driving while impaired  or driving under the influence (DWI/DUI), fake i.d. or counterfeit identification, underage drinking, and aiding and abetting these and other crimes.
If you are charged with any type of crime in our area, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a consultation about what we can do for you. In many cases, we are able to negotiate with the charging officer and the district attorney’s office to have a defendant perform volunteer service in order to have the charges dismissed.  Sometimes, that volunteer service can be served on the beach picking up trash, and helping keep our beautiful beaches clean, including Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Topsail Beach, Wilmington Beach, and Kure Beach.

Litter on the Beach

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Spring is here, and people across the Southeast are thinking about going to the beaches in Southeastern North Carolina and planning trips.  We have beautiful beaches in our area.  In New Hanover County, there is Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Wilmington Beach, and Kure Beach. In Pender County, there is Surf City and Topsail Island.  In Brunswick County, there is Sunset Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, Caswell Beach, and Ocean Isle Beach.

There are many efforts to prevent littering, and many make the news in our region.  In Wrightsville Beach, the Cleaner, Greener Wrightsville Beach committee has proposed a list of ideas to help prevent littering.  They proposed the following steps:  to develop a visual image for regular signage and holiday banners to remind visitors to keep Wrightsville Beach clean; create a logo that can be included on T-shirts (possibly signage and banners, too) to identify beach sweep volunteers and solicit volunteers to educating the public about cleaner, greener efforts; color code recycling containers and consider additional recycle locations on the beach strand; maintain the Green Tab on the town’s website through IT manager, Raquel Ivins; work with the Wrightsville Beach Merchants Association and Mayor David Cignotti coordinating with their litter awareness efforts; and study and use results of the Cleaner Greener Survey in developing ideas and plans.

Another program is North Carolina Big Sweep.  They finished first in the voting in the MillerCoors River Network competition.  The first prize is a $30,000 grant.  The statewide non-profit group says the money will be used to coordinate cleanups in all 100 counties in North Carolina and to implement a litter awareness campaign.  WWAY has partnered with Big Sweep on annual beach clean-up programs in the area.

Our beaches are beautiful, and we should all help to alleviate littering.  Littering on most of our beaches is a crime – a misdemeanor, and a conviction for littering can remain on one’s criminal record for life unless steps are taken to prevent it.   If you are charged with littering, or any other crime in our area, Collins Law Firm can help prevent the consequences of being charged, such as court appearances, and convictions and the subsequent consequences of a conviction such as fines, court costs, probation, etc.  We have been doing so for over a decade.

One way we often help avoid convictions for such crimes as littering is to negotiate with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to have a client perform a number of hours of volunteer service.  Often that volunteer service can be picking up litter on the beach.

If you have been charged with littering, or any other crime in our area, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a consultation about what we can do for you.

Restoration of Firearms Rights

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Recently, the North Carolina Legislature enacted S.L. 2011-2 (H 18), which clarifies the effective date of the law authorizing restoration of firearms rights under certain circumstances.   This bill amends the effective date of S.L. 2010-108 (H 126), (codified as  § 14-415.4. Restoration of firearms rights), which allows people convicted of nonviolent felonies to apply for restoration of the right to possess firearms and creates an exception from firearms restrictions for white collar felony convictions.  The 2010 act contained a standard effective-date clause used in criminal law legislation—that is, that the act applied to offenses committed on or after a particular date, in this instance February 1, 2011.  This wording created some question whether the restoration procedure and exception applied to a person who committed an offense before that date.  The 2011 amendment clarifies that the restoration procedure and exception takes effect February 1, 2011.  Thus, whether the offense date is before or after February 11, a person is eligible for restoration of firearm rights if he or she was convicted of a nonviolent felony as defined in G.S. 14-415.4, completed his or her sentence at least twenty years ago, and otherwise meets the requirements for restoration.  The act is effective March 5, 2011.
The text of the Act, specifying the criteria under which the rights may be restored, is:  Article 54A.  The Felony Firearms Act;  § 14-415.4.   Restoration of firearms rights:
(a) Definitions. – The following definitions apply in this section: (1) Firearms rights. – The legal right in this State of a person to purchase, own, possess, or have in the person’s custody, care, or control any firearm or any weapon of mass death and destruction as those terms are defined in G.S. 14-415.1 and G.S. 14-288.8(c).  The term does not include any weapon defined in G.S. 14-409(a). (2) Nonviolent felony. – The term nonviolent felony does not include any felony that is a Class A, Class B1, or Class B2 felony.  Also, the term nonviolent felony does not include any Class C through Class I felony that is one of the following:  a.  An offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.  b.  An offense that includes the possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon as an essential or nonessential element of the offense, or the offender was in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon at the time of the commission of the offense.  c.  An offense for which the offender was armed with or used a firearm or other deadly weapon.  d.  An offense for which the offender must register under Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.  (b) Purpose. – It is the purpose of this section to establish a procedure that allows a North Carolina resident who was convicted of a single nonviolent felony and whose citizenship rights have been restored pursuant to Chapter 13 of the General Statutes to petition the court to remove the petitioner’s dis-entitlement under G.S. 14-415.1 and to restore the person’s firearms rights in this State.  If the single nonviolent felony conviction was an out-of-state conviction or a federal conviction, then the North Carolina resident shall show proof of the restoration of his or her civil rights and the right to possess a firearm in the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred.  Restoration of a person’s firearms rights under this section means that the person may purchase, own, possess, or have in the person’s custody, care, or control any firearm or any weapon of mass death and destruction as those terms are defined in G.S. 14-415.1 and G.S. 14-288.8(c) without being in violation of G.S. 14-415.1, if otherwise qualified.  (c) Petition for Restoration of Firearms Rights.  – A person who was convicted of a nonviolent felony in North Carolina but whose civil rights have been restored pursuant to Chapter 13 of the General Statutes for a period of at least 20 years may petition the district court in the district where the person resides to restore the person’s firearms rights pursuant to this section.  A person who was convicted of a nonviolent felony in a jurisdiction other than North Carolina may petition the district court in the district where the person resides to restore the person’s firearms rights pursuant to this section only if the person’s civil rights, including the right to possess a firearm, have been restored, pursuant to the law of the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred, for a period of at least 20 years.  The court may restore a petitioner’s firearms rights after a hearing in court if the court determines that the petitioner meets the criteria set out in this section and is not otherwise disqualified to have that right restored.
(d) Criteria.  – The court may grant a petition to restore a person’s firearms rights under this section if the petitioner satisfies all of the following criteria and is not otherwise disqualified to have that right restored:  (1) The petitioner is a resident of North Carolina and has been a resident of the State for one year or longer immediately preceding the filing of the petition.  (2) The petitioner has only one felony conviction and that conviction is for a nonviolent felony.  For purposes of this subdivision, multiple felony convictions arising out of the same event and consolidated for sentencing shall count as one felony only.  (3) The petitioner’s rights of citizenship have been restored pursuant to Chapter 13 of the General Statutes or, if the conviction was in a jurisdiction other than North Carolina, have been restored, pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred, for a period of at least 20 years before the date of the filing of the petition.  (4) The petitioner has not been convicted under the laws of the United States, the laws of this State, or the laws of any other state of any misdemeanor as described in subdivision (6) of subsection (e) of this section since the conviction of the nonviolent felony.  (5) The petitioner submits his or her fingerprints to the sheriff of the county in which the petitioner resides for a criminal background check pursuant to G.S. 114-19.28.  (6) The petitioner is not disqualified under subsection (e) of this section.
If you live in Southeastern North Carolina (Brunswick, New Hanover, or Pender Counties) and think you qualify for restoration of your right to bear firearms and are interested in having your rights restored, call Collins Law Firm for a consultation at:   910-793-9000.

Underage Drinking and Possession of Alcohol in North Carolina

Friday, February 25th, 2011

In North Carolina, laws concerning the sale, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages are contained in N.C.G.S. Chapter 18B entitled “Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages.” (§§ 18B-100 – 18B-1308) and (§§ 18B-300 – 18B-399).  Convictions for most violations of these provisions are subject to punishment for either a class one misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum of 120 days in jail) or a class two misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail).  Further, a conviction for a violation of 18B-302(c), (e), or (f) will result in the person’s NC drivers license being revoked for one year.  See N.C.G.S. § 20-17.3 entitled “Revocation for Underage Purchasers of Alcohol.”

Section 18B-302 provides that “the court shall file a conviction report with the Division of Motor Vehicles indicating the name of the person convicted and any other information requested by the Division if the person is convicted of any of the following: (1) A violation of subsection (e) or (f) of this section. (2) A violation of subsection (c) of this section. (3) A violation of subsection (b) of this section, if the violation occurred while the person was purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage. (4) A violation of subsection (a1) of this section. Upon receipt of a conviction report, the Division shall revoke the person’s license as required by G.S. 20-17.3.”

The relevant portions of the statutes prohibiting certain conduct are contained in § 18B-302 entitled “Sale to or purchase by underage persons,” which provide as follows:

(a) Sale. – It shall be unlawful for any person to: (1) Sell malt beverages or unfortified wine to anyone less than 21 years old; or (2) Sell fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old. (a1) Give. – It shall be unlawful for any person to: (1) Give malt beverages or unfortified wine to anyone less than 21 years old; or (2) Give fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old. (b) Purchase, Possession, or Consumption. – It shall be unlawful for: (1) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess malt beverages or unfortified wine; or (2) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages; or (3) A person less than 21 years old to consume any alcoholic beverage. (c) Aider and Abettor. (1) By Underage Person. – Any person who is under the lawful age to purchase and who aids or abets another in violation of subsection (a), (a1), or (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. (2) By Person over Lawful Age. – Any person who is over the lawful age to purchase and who aids or abets another in violation of subsection (a), (a1), or (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.  (e) Fraudulent Use of Identification. – It shall be unlawful for any person to enter or attempt to enter a place where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed, or to obtain or attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages, or to obtain or attempt to obtain permission to purchase alcoholic beverages, in violation of subsection (b) of this section, by using or attempting to use any of the following: (1) A fraudulent or altered drivers license. (2) A fraudulent or altered identification document other than a drivers license. (3) A drivers license issued to another person. (4) An identification document other than a drivers license issued to another person. (5) Any other form or means of identification that indicates or symbolizes that the person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcoholic beverages under this section. (f) Allowing Use of Identification. – It shall be unlawful for any person to permit the use of the person’s drivers license or any other form of identification of any kind issued or given to the person by any other person who violates or attempts to violate subsection (b) of this section.

However, just because you have been charged with underage drinking or any violation of the NC alcohol laws, or any law, doesn’t necessarily mean you will be convicted.  Collins Law Firm has represented hundreds of people charged with violating the laws regarding the sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol since 1998, and in most cases, especially for first time offenders, we have been able to avoid convictions.  Currently, in most cases for first time offenders, even if there is no solid defense, we are able to negotiate an agreement with law enforcement officer and the district attorney’s office to have the charges dismissed after the defendant completes a certain number of hours of volunteer service, or completing an class about alcohol and the laws regarding alcohol, or other requirements, or a combination thereof. In most cases where there is a solid defense, we are able to have the charges dismissed without our clients having to perform any community service or complete classes.

If you have been charged with any crime in Southeastern North Carolina, in or around Wilmington NC in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, or Pender County, and need a lawyer or attorney to represent you, call us for a confidential consultation at:  910-793-9000.

New Law Permitting Collection of DNA Takes Effect Today – February 1, 2011 in North Carolina

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

DNA SwabA new North Carolina law, N.C.G.S. § 15A-266.3A entitled “The DNA Database Act of 2010” takes effect today, Tuesday, February 1, 2011.

The law permits law enforcement officers to take swabs to collect a person’s DNA when a defendant is arrested, and before they are convicted, for certain crimes, including both felonies and misdemeanors. Examples include such offenses as first degree murder, second degree murder, some sexual offenses, manslaughter, assaults, kidnapping, stalking, and burglaries. The law has provisions for removal of a defendant’s DNA from the database if the person is acquitted of the charges which qualify the defendant’s DNA from being taken under the new law. At least 20 other states have similar laws on the books, including Virginia.

While the new law will most certainly help solve crimes, and especially cold crimes because of the increased collection of DNA samples, some find the new law controversial because it allows for the collection of DNA before the defendants are convicted. The new laws allowing DNA collection without convictions implicate Fourth Amendment issues for the criminal justice system. Good discussions about these issues can be found in the UNC School of Government Blog on Criminal Law and in bulletins by the National Institute of Justice.