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Wilmington Criminal Defense Law Blog

Uninsured motorist coverage is all about the buyer

There are far too many uninsured drivers in North Carolina, without a doubt. Although the reasons are diverse, it is important for those who do purchase the legally required liability insurance on their vehicles to know what they are buying for themselves.

It may not only be the protection of others they are purchasing.

3 charged with manufacturing meth and growing marijuana

On Aug. 4, it was reported that a North Carolina teenager and two adults were charged with multiple drug offenses following the execution of a search warrant at a Raeford residence. The Hoke County Sheriff's Office stated that, during the execution of the search warrant, authorities found a meth lab, marijuana plants and other drugs.

The search warrant was executed at a home located in the 200 block of Posey Farm Road on Aug. 3. The authorities alleged that they discovered a meth lab in a burn barrel on the property. Inside the home, precursors used to manufacture methamphetamine, marijuana plants, meth pipes, schedule II pills and packaging materials were recovered.

Being accused of kidnapping

If a North Carolina resident takes a person he or she does not have custody over against the person's will, that resident could be accused of kidnapping. For example, a parent who does not have custody of a child could be accused of kidnapping depending on the circumstance.

There are both federal and state kidnapping laws, though states generally prosecute kidnapping unless the person is taken across state lines. However, kidnapping is still a serious federal offense and could result in a 20-year prison sentence. When it comes to international parental kidnapping, the courts where the person was taken will generally have jurisdiction over the case. If the country has adopted the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, international civil law will also play a role. However, it should be noted that the Hague Convention only determines where the case should be heard, not who should have custody of the child.

Introduction of autonomous vehicles may be slow

North Carolina motorists may have heard a great deal from industry leaders like Google and Tesla about the development of autonomous vehicles. Early predictions about their adoption have been optimistic. For example, in 2014, one analyst with Morgan Stanley predicted there would be fully autonomous vehicles on highways by 2019. A former Uber CEO said that by 2030 its fleet would be fully autonomous. Multiple car manufacturers said autonomous vehicles would be for sale by the end of the decade.

However, there are a number of reasons these predictions may not be correct. Autonomous vehicles have some significant hurdles to overcome. One is the public's reluctance to pay more for them. Much larger challenges surround legal and regulatory issues, and ethical issues may be the largest challenge of all. One question developers must address is what decision an autonomous car will make with a choice between hurting its occupants, another car or an innocent bystander. There are also issues around complex data and mapping.

Who is liable for injuries that take place on the beach?

The beach is home to sun and fun, and as the heat of summer intensifies, more people will flock to its shores to relax and cool off. Unfortunately, however, beaches can also be full of risks that sometimes result in injury. According to a study done by the University of Delaware, emergency room visits following injuries that happen at a beach are far more widespread than previously thought.

Who is liable for the damages that occur in such situations? Several factors will determine the answer to this question. If you are dealing with the aftermath of an injury that took place at a beach near Wilmington, you should be aware of the following factors determining potential liability.

Developers say device will help prevent drowsy driving

North Carolina drivers who experience fatigue while behind the wheel may be able to purchase a device that is supposed to detect and wake up drowsy motorists. The product is worn on the wrist and measures heart rate and sweat to determine when a person is falling asleep.

The team at Creative Mode that designed the device initially tested it with vibrations to wake up the driver. However, this was not always effective. The team then looked at electric shocks and found that at low levels, they could be both painless and harmless but enough to wake a driver. Furthermore, the shock is supposed to stimulate the production of hormones such as serotonin that can help keep a driver awake long enough to find a place to stop and rest.

2 facing heroin trafficking charges

On July 22, North Carolina authorities reported that two men who were facing criminal charges were taken into custody the previous day. They were identified as a 35-year-old man and a 29-year-old man, both from Durham.

The two men were taken into custody at a home that was located in the 1200 block of East Club Boulevard. While the men were being detained, investigators reportedly found about 66 grams of heroin, an unstated amount of marijuana and two semi-automatic handguns that appeared to be stolen.

Man convicted on drug charges faces 20-year sentence

A 34-year-old North Carolina man is facing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of up to $20 million after being found guilty of possessing and distributing drugs. He could also be sentenced to an additional 10 years on firearms possession charges. A federal court jury returned guilty verdicts on charges of methamphetamine and firearms possession and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on July 25. Court records indicate that the man was prohibited from owning guns due to his previous felony convictions.

According to law enforcement reports, two ounces of methamphetamine and two hunting rifles were discovered when police executed a search warrant at the man's Charlotte home in October 2016. Subsequent tests revealed that the methamphetamine seized was 96 percent pure. The operation was part of an investigation launched by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, and law enforcement agents and officers from the Department of Homeland Security, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Hickory Police Department and the Alexander County Sheriff's Office took part.

The link between speed limits and roadway deaths

North Carolina residents may be interested to know that according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 33,000 deaths attributable to higher speed limits in the past 20 years. However, that number may be higher. In 2013, there were 1,900 deaths attributed to higher speed limits, which was roughly the same number of lives saved by driver and passenger frontal airbags.

Between 1973 and 1995, states held their speed limits at 55 miles an hour under pressure from Congress. However, the limits were imposed because of a lack of fuel as opposed to driver safety. States were allowed to increase their speed limits from 55 to 65 miles per hour in 1987 as this concern faded. Proponents of increased speed limits contend that drivers go faster than posted speed limits anyway, so the increased limit simply brings the law in line with practical reality.

A stronger economy means higher road fatalities

North Carolina residents are probably aware that the economy has been on the upswing, but what they may not know is that economic improvement is linked to more driver deaths. When an economy is healthier, there are more drivers on the road more often. The more a driver is on the road, the higher the risk of being in an accident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study looking at the three years between 2012 and 2015, which compared the number of fatalities for certain makes and models of vehicles. The study found an overall increase in traffic deaths for 2014 models. The 2014 models are generally safer than 2011 models, so the increase could be due to a stronger economy that enables more drivers to be on the road.

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