New Years Laws in North Carolina and Beyond

New Years brings with it celebration of a New Year, and with it new laws. In North Carolina, new laws usually go into effect in the beginning of December. This past December, for instance, the state enacted harsher punishments for animal cruelty. The law enhanced the felony punishment from a Class I to a Class H felony, which means that someone with no prior record could be eligible for a jail term if convicted of the offense.

While North Carolina cracked down on texting last year (in December 2009), other states have gotten in on the act, passing laws that make it a traffic offense or even misdemeanor for texting while driving. The changes come in Kentucky and Delaware, among others.

Other states have enacted laws that have made criminal laws somewhat more lenient. For instance, California has changed the law with regard to possession less than a half ounce of marijuana will no longer be a criminal offense, but will be a like a traffic infraction in that the person will have a fine of about $100. In North Carolina, possession of marijuana less than a half ounce is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

It’s also important to keep in mind that – as is true of the whole holiday period – North Carolina in general and Raleigh and Wake County in particular crack down on drunk driving. I have had multiple folks contact me since Thanksgiving regarding drunk driving or driving while impaired (DWI) arrests in Raleigh, Apex, Cary and other parts of Wake County. If you’d like to talk to a Raleigh criminal lawyer or Raleigh DWI lawyer regarding a drunk driving stop or a DWI or DUI checkpoint, call me at (919) 352-9411.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.