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North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Woman gets 16 to 29 months for injurious DWI crash

A driver from North Carolina has been sentenced to 16 to 29 months in prison after pleading guilty to alcohol-related driving allegations. The woman, age 48, had been accused of DWI after she was found to be intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine during a November 2012 accident. That car accident left a Fort Bragg soldier seriously injured; part of his right hand and both legs were amputated, and he suffered severe internal injuries, among other ailments.

Official reports show that the woman pleaded guilty to a Class F felony: felony serious injury by vehicle. She also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while impaired, along with allegations that she was driving left of center. Analysis of the woman's blood alcohol content showed that she was intoxicated. Her value was 0.10 percent; the legal limit in the state of North Carolina is 0.08 percent.

Prison: Coming Out 'A Better Person' Than When You Went In

Coming out of prison "a better person" than when you went in is the promise of Texas legislator John Whitmire, who, as Olivia Nuzzi writes for the Daily Beast, is the longest-serving member of the Texas State Senate and one of the "architects" of prison reform in that state.

And, so far, it seems to be working. Nuzzi's title: "Prison reform is bigger in Texas," and what she means by that is that Texas has apparently saved billions of dollars by not building new prisons and, in fact, by shutting some prisons down. Texas, a tough on crime state, until now would never have been seen as a leader in the prison reform movement.

Latest Incident Of School Violence Implicates Bullying

Bullying is no excuse for stabbing your fellow classmates, but it may have played a role in 16-year-old Alex Hribal's "stabbing spree" at Franklin Regional High School in Pennsylvania.

Hribal has since been charged with four counts of attempted murder and 21 counts of aggravated assault.

Heroin use up in North Carolina, drug crimes penalties change

New statistics show that a troubling rise in heroin use is occurring throughout North Carolina, causing some alarm among law enforcement officers and public health officials alike. Heroin had been only a minor concern for drug crimes enforcement agencies in recent years. A recent spike in heroin deaths in 2012, however, has led to increased attention to the distribution of the narcotic.

Authorities in Durham, for example, reportedly seized roughly four pounds of heroin in 2013; that is five times the 2010 haul. Raleigh saw an even more severe upsurge, with seizures of less than a pound in 2010 and nearly 24 pounds taken in 2013. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that an epidemic of opioid prescription deaths is also occurring; many of those medications contain similar chemicals as those found in heroin. Experts say that heroin is far cheaper -- $5 to $20 per bag -- than the $40 per pill cost for the prescription medication.

Drug crimes case prompts discussion about free will

What do drugs, urine and the Constitution have in common? They are all under consideration in connection with a case that is currently being heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court. This bizarre drug crimes case seeks to answer a fundamental legal quandary: Should people be punished for involuntary crimes?

Official reports show that the defendant in this case was arrested for driving under the influence and then transported to a local detention facility in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The defendant asked to use the bathroom upon arriving at the facility, but he accidentally urinated upon himself and grew combative with officers. Corrections employees sought to subdue the man; at that point, a bag of marijuana fell out of his pants.

Eight Months For Four Grams Of Weed

John Tucker with Indy Week writes that one 34-year-old man got eight months behind bars for four grams of weed, enough for roughly 10 joints and perhaps 15 days in jail.

What happened? It was all about timing and unfortunate circumstances (though you could argue the same thing in many cases where the government has charged you with something). After a DWI arrest, law enforcement brought the man to lock-up, and in lock-up, officers found marijuana on him.

Woman accused of DUI, attempted assault after crash incident

A North Carolina driver is facing a wide range of charges after she reportedly crashed her vehicle while intoxicated in McKean County. The woman, age 39, is accused of DWI and several other criminal violations in connection with the incident, during which she allegedly resisted arrest. The woman remains in custody pending a hearing in late March.

Authorities report that the woman was apprehended after she was found disoriented and allegedly intoxicated in her vehicle in a market parking lot. She is accused of striking an 18-wheeler during a drunk driving crash that happened in a hotel parking lot near that location. It appears that the woman was driving quickly when she struck the larger vehicle, which was carrying a car-hauler trailer.

The Problem With Prosecutors Run Amok

First things first, there is nothing wrong with the majority of prosecutors, just like there's nothing wrong with the majority of criminal defense lawyers. Although, if you can't use the word "majority," you can at least say that it's wrong to demonize an entire group of people.

That's certainly not what Radley Balko does, in his piece about the "rampaging prosecutor" in the Duke lacrosse case involving the alleged rape of a stripper perpetrated by three athletes, with its focus on former Durham County prosecutor Mike Nifong, who was subsequently stripped of his license to practice.

Church official charged with sex crimes for second time

A North Carolina man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a minor at two different churches in the York area. The man, age 38, is reportedly related to a bishop in the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas. That organization is accused of reassigning the man to another church, despite the fact that he was convicted of sex crimes in the past.

The defendant is facing sex crimes allegations of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He is also accused of assault and battery after allegedly inappropriately touching a girl while he was working as a pastor at a nearby church on U.S. 321. The victim in the case said that she had been suffering abuse since 2009, when she was 14 years old. Incidents of inappropriate touching allegedly occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The man had been convicted of previous sex crimes against children in 2003 while working at a church in Gastonia.

Duke University Student (And Porn Star) Feels The Hate

To say that Miriam Weeks has been "criticized" for her work as a porn star is an understatement. On a post she wrote on XOJane.com shortly after she was outed by a fellow classmate, in which she reveals for the first time her stage name ("Belle Knox") she described the vitriol and hate that spewed forth on Twitter, characterized by her subheading: "I've never been told to die in quite so many ways."

Weeks goes on to list a few choice tweets:

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