As of December 1, 2019, 30 new or amended laws are now in effect in North Carolina. Many of these new laws impact how crimes are handled throughout the state.
The following are some of the new laws in North Carolina:
- Raise the Age – Minors who are 16 and 17 years of age will not be automatically tried in adult court for most nonviolent and less serious felonies. However, the most serious felonies and motor-vehicle cases will be tried in adult court. Lawmakers believe this new law will allow young people to avoid permanent criminal records and reduce recidivism through rehabilitative services offered to delinquents in juvenile cases.
- Sexual Assault – This new law gives women the ability to revoke consent during sex, undoing a 1979 court decision that made North Carolina the only state where women can’t revoke consent. Additionally, the law undoes a 2008 court ruling that said sexual assault laws do not apply to people who have become incapacitated due to alcohol or drug use because their own actions as victims and makes it a felony offense for a doctor to have sexual contact with a patient when the act is disguised as treatment.
- Child Abuse – Victims of child sexual abuse can now file a civil lawsuit for damages until they turn 28 years old, rather than 21. For individuals who are older than 28, they have a one-time window to file a civil lawsuit until 2021. Furthermore, an adult could also file a lawsuit within two years of a felony conviction of someone who abused the adult as a child. Lastly, the statute of limitations for specific child-abuse misdemeanors from two years to 10.
- Death by Distribution – If a drug dealer sells an illegal drug or controlled substance to another person and that individual dies of an overdose, the dealer will now face a new high-level felony, which carries a prison sentence lasting several years.
Other laws that have become effective starting in December include:
- If a person uses a firearm to assault a police officer or first responder, he/she faces increased criminal penalties.
- If a driver violates the state’s “move-over” law and a first responder suffers a serious injury or dies, he/she will face increased criminal penalties.
- It is a misdemeanor crime for a motorist to drive around roadblocks set up due to flooded roadways.
- Impersonating an Uber or Lyft driver is now a criminal offense and the penalties increase if a person assaults a legitimate rideshare driver.