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Concord North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Violent crimes on the rise in North Carolina

In May 2019, the News and Observer reported that violent crime was on the rise in Durham, North Carolina since the start of the year. At one point, three homicides took place within an eight-day span. Currently, the figures for the end of the first quarter stand higher than they did last year for the same period of time.

Homicides are not the only violent crimes on the increase. Robberies and aggravated assaults also saw a 13% rise for the first quarter of the year. A total of 12 homicides, 199 aggravated assaults and 153 robberies took place at this time. One trend that concerned law enforcement was an increase in robberies of Hispanics at apartment complexes. Overall, burglaries declined.

Can you be fired in North Carolina for being arrested?

It’s not unusual to hear about somebody being fired for something they wrote on social media. Maybe a video goes viral showing someone not quite living their best life and they’re out of a job.

But what about an arrest for DUI, drug possession or getting into a fight? Maybe you’re innocent but the police made a mistake or were discriminating against you. What if the charges are later dropped? Is it legal to fire you (or turn you down for a job) because of trouble with the law?

Important tips on what to do in a fender bender

Fender benders are one of the most common types of minor accidents in North Carolina. No matter how great a driver someone is, there is no accounting for the driver behind them who may follow too closely and fail to stop. Unfortunately, even the best drivers may not know what to do when they become involved in a fender bender.

According to NBC San Diego, the first step is to remain calm and ensure all the passengers in the vehicle are okay. After ensuring no one is badly hurt, move the car out of traffic. Drivers should then document the accident scene, including close-ups of any damage to theirs and the other person’s vehicle. Getting a photo of the driver’s license plate is also a good idea. If the driver is not cooperative or becomes hostile, call the police. Note that police officers do not determine fault; insurance companies do.

How Walmart handles shoplifting

When people think of larceny cases in North Carolina, auto theft or burglary may most often come to mind. However, shoplifting costs retailers like Walmart millions of dollars every year. In a Business Insider article, one man shared the work experience of his late wife, who worked in loss prevention for Walmart for seven years. Her job was to patrol the stores in plain clothes, looking for alleged thieves. She was later promoted to a supervisor of people who carried out this role.

He reported that his wife caught two to three shoplifters weekly, but that there were other workers who caught two to three in a day. The main indicator she found behind why specific Walmart stores were targeted was the size. She also identified three main types of non-employees who took store items:

  •          Some people took low-cost items, with pregnancy tests being the most frequently targeted. People would use them in the bathrooms and then discard them.
  •          Other people took items from the store and then returned them later on for cash refunds. These items were usually small but costly.
  •          Finally, there were people who belonged to a ring. The most memorable one involved senior citizens, who were all neighbors. One would take an item and someone else would return it for a cash refund. Some rings sold their goods to other stores, while some goods even ended up in meth labs.

North Carolina drug offenses may be federal or state crimes

North Carolina has its own drug laws. They specify which drugs are illegal, which ones in what amounts are misdemeanors or felonies, what evidence can be used in court, and the possible penalties for those found guilty.

But the federal government also has its own laws addressing such questions and its answers are not the same as North Carolina’s. Possessing, selling, and being under the influence of certain drugs are illegal under both sets of laws at the same time, so what laws will apply if you’re charged with a drug crime?

Supreme Court ruling may increase drunk driving convictions

According to The Charlotte Observer, the operator of a vehicle is considered a drunk driver if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, the BAC legal limit in North Carolina is just 0.04%. Contrary to what many people believe, even without a BAC test, a police officer may still charge a driver with a DUI or DWI if they are “appreciably impaired.” A DWI is considered a misdemeanor and may lead to jailtime ranging from 24 hours to 2 years or fines of $200 to $4,000.

Business Insider notes that more drivers may face these penalties due to a Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that allowed police officers to administer breathalyzer tests without a warrant. This ruling affected existing laws in 11 states. Many professionals believe that criminalizing the refusal of a chemical test is a violation of a person’s rights. Also, drivers often refuse breathalyzer tests anyway, believing that the criminal penalties for refusing the test may prove less lifechanging than having a DWI on their record.

Crime on the rise again in North Carolina city

North Carolina has struggled to get a hold on criminal activities over the years, but a recent report shows at least one city was experiencing an all-time low. Roughly two hours’ drive from Concord is the city of Durham. According to ABC News, the police chief in the area reported a four-year low in the crime rate for 2018, which dropped by 13%.

However, a closer look at the numbers still showed some cause for concern. The good news is that homeowners can breathe easy as burglary is at a 20-year low with a total of 2,226 home invasions. In contrast, car theft is experiencing a ten-year high with 801 vehicles stolen. Homicides also increased by 52%, but police officers were able to solve 75% of these crimes.

When involuntary manslaughter tears families apart

According to FindLaw, drunk drivers may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if the crash is fatal. However, this has become such a problem in North Carolina that there is a separate charge for these offenses, known as vehicular manslaughter.

There is usually strong public opinion against people who commit vehicular manslaughter, but there are some instances where drunk driving or reckless driving were not involved. There have, for instance, been countless cases of grandparents accidentally backing over toddlers or an overworked employee falling asleep at the wheel on the way home and running a red light.

Why are opiates so addictive?

Drug addictions ruin health, destroy families, and cause serious legal repercussions. This is especially true when it comes to opiates, which are highly addictive even after short-term use. Understanding the nature of addiction is crucial, both for family members as well as the person with the drug problem. The Mayo Clinic explains how opiate addiction works and what risk factors are involved. 

While anyone can get addicted to opiates, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely. The longer you take a drug, the more likely it is you'll become addicted. This is a real issue for people with chronic pain, who are often given prescriptions to control discomfort over an extended period of time. There are many other factors that play a role in whether you'll misuse opiates. People who are currently unemployed are more likely to have issues, as are those with a long history of substance abuse. People with anxiety or depression, those who engage risky behaviors, and people who are under a great deal of stress are also more likely to develop addictions. 

Can inconsistent workplace standards contribute to larceny?

According to Chron.com, in order to combat larceny, companies employ zero tolerance policies that forbid workers from taking from the company inventory. Such rules can be effective, but only if they are enforced regularly. Problems may arise if members of high ranking management decide to bend regulations and help themselves to some of the inventory for personal use. This kind of inconsistent application of the rules could cause the very larceny that a North Carolina employer wishes to avoid.

To take one example, if a worker that is lower on the company ladder observes a manager making off with tech from the inventory even though company rules forbid it, the worker may feel resentful and motivated to commit larceny since the manager apparently does not care about the rules. A sense that there are two sets of rules for two groups of employees can lead the aggrieved workers to simply not care about following or enforcing the zero tolerance requirements.

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