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Criminal Law in North Carolina

NC Legislative Summaries

For recent summaries of additional legislation of interest to local and state government officials, visit our Legislative Summaries page.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Resources

2014 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
Robert L. Farb
Monday, September 1, 2014
Bulletin

Below are summaries of recently enacted legislation affecting criminal law and procedure. To obtain the text of the legislation, click on the link provided below or go to the North Carolina General Assembly’s website, www.ncleg.net. (Once there, click on “Session Laws” on the right side of the page and then “2013-2014 Session” under “Browse Session Laws.”) Be careful to note the effective date of each piece of legislation.

2013 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
Robert L. Farb
Friday, November 1, 2013
Bulletin

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the North Carolina General Statutes (hereinafter G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of bills may be viewed on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.ncleg.net/.

2012 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Friday, August 17, 2012
Bulletin

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the North Carolina General Statutes (hereinafter G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of bills may be viewed on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.ncleg.net/.

2011 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Monday, December 12, 2011
Bulletin

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the North Carolina General Statutes (hereinafter G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of bills may be viewed on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.ncleg.net/.

2010 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin, James C. Drennan
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Bulletin

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the North Carolina General Statutes (hereinafter G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of bills may be viewed on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.ncleg.net/.

2009 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Bulletin

This bulletin discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2009.

aojb0909.pdf (pdf, 677.87 KB)
2008 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Bulletin

This bulletin discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2008.

aojb0806.pdf (pdf, 571.48 KB)
2007 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Bulletin

Discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2007.

aojb0801.pdf (pdf, 584.27 KB)
2006 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Monday, January 1, 2007
Bulletin

The General Assembly passed three major acts affecting criminal law and procedure in 2006. One significantly expanded the obligations of and restrictions on individuals who are required to register as sex offenders. The second created a new commission to review claims of innocence by individuals who have been convicted of felonies. The third made sweeping changes to the state’s impaired driving laws. The first two acts, along with the many other acts passed in 2006 that affect criminal law and procedure, are discussed in the body of this bulletin. The impaired driving act is summarized in the attached paper by James C. Drennan. Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number
later. Copies of the bills may be viewed on the General Assembly’s website, http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/.

aojb0703.pdf (pdf, 288.32 KB)
2005 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Thursday, December 1, 2005
Bulletin

The most significant legislation enacted by the General Assembly in the field of criminal law and procedure was what has become known as the Blakely bill, which responds to rulings of the United States Supreme Court that rendered unconstitutional portions of North Carolina’s sentencing statutes. As is common in most sessions, the General Assembly also passed legislation on a wide array of criminal law and procedure topics. Most of the attention was paid to creating and revising criminal offenses, including new restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine, a cold medication ingredient also used to manufacture methamphetamine, and revamped laws on identity theft and exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult. The General Assembly also passed legislation that indirectly involves criminal law, expanding the collateral consequences of criminal convictions by requiring sex-offender registration for a wider range of offenses and requiring criminal history checks for a wider range of employment and other activities.

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of the bills may be viewed on the web site of the General Assembly, http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/.

aojb0508.pdf (pdf, 224.49 KB)
2004 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Friday, October 1, 2004
Bulletin

The General Assembly enacted three major pieces of legislation in the field of criminal law and procedure as well as numerous smaller acts. The General Assembly significantly expanded the discovery rights of both the defense and prosecution in criminal cases. It enacted a package of legislation recommended by the House Select Committee on Domestic Violence, making changes that affect domes tic violence prosecutions and criminal law generally. And, it significantly increased the punishments for offenses involving the controlled substance methamphetamine.

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of the bills may be viewed on the website for the General Assembly, http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/.

aoj200406.pdf (pdf, 304.14 KB)
2003 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
Jessica Smith
Monday, September 1, 2003
Bulletin

This bulletin summarizes the 2003 legislative changes affecting criminal law and procedure. It covers criminal offenses, criminal procedure, evidence, domestic violence, juveniles, motor vehicles, law enforcement, sentencing and corrections, court administration, and studies related to criminal law and procedure. 

aoj200305.pdf (pdf, 190.65 KB)
2002 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
Jessica Smith
Friday, November 1, 2002
Bulletin

This bulletin summarizes the 2002 legislative changes affecting criminal law and procedure. It covers criminal offenses, criminal procedure, victim assistance and domestic violence, motor vehicles, law enforcement, sentencing and corrections, collateral consequences, court administration, and studies related to criminal law and procedure. 

aoj200206.pdf (pdf, 308.86 KB)
2001 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Tuesday, January 1, 2002
Bulletin

The longest legislative session in state history resulted in no major overhauls in the field of criminal law and procedure but it did reach into many different areas and produced some significant changes. Perhaps the most important legislation came in the death penalty area, with the General Assembly sparing mentally retarded people from the death penalty and allowing prosecutors greater discretion to choose between seeking life imprisonment or death as the punishment for first-degree murder.

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later. Copies of the bills may be viewed on the website for the General Assembly, http://www.ncleg.net/.

aoj200202.pdf (pdf, 583.60 KB)
2000 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Sunday, October 1, 2000
Bulletin

The 2000 General Assembly made few substantive changes in the state’s criminal law and procedure. Of the criminal legislation enacted, the most significant involved the legality of video poker machines and the procedure for forfeiture of bail bonds. The General Assembly did, however, reorganize a crucial part of the administration of the criminal justice system—indigent defense.

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later.

aoj200003rubinlegis.pdf (pdf, 94.75 KB)
1999 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Friday, October 1, 1999
Bulletin

As in most sessions, the 1999 General Assembly made numerous changes to the state’s criminal laws. The changes were of a more technical nature than in previous sessions, however. Offenses were created and revised, punishments raised, and procedures modified, but few major initiatives were enacted. Perhaps the most groundbreaking legislation this session involved limiting prosecutors’ authority over the criminal calendar. The General Assembly also toughened the laws concerning offenses at schools, controlled substances, and impaired driving.

Each ratified act discussed here is identified by its chapter number in the session laws and by the number of the original bill. When an act creates new sections in the General Statutes (G.S.), the section number is given; however, the codifier of statutes may change that number later.

1998 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Tuesday, December 1, 1998
Bulletin

The 1998 session of the General Assembly was a relatively quiet one in the field of criminal law and procedure, or at least in what traditionally has been considered part of that field. Few changes were made in areas such as the elements of criminal offenses or pretrial and trial procedure.

The General Assembly was far more active in less traditional areas, but ones that more and more are being linked to the administration of criminal justice. The most extensive changes were to the state’s juvenile justice laws, which govern juveniles alleged to be delinquent or undisciplined. Readers interested in the new juvenile laws, which are not discussed here, should refer to Janet Mason, 1998 Legislation: Juvenile Law Reform, ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE BULLETIN 98/03 (Institute of Government, Dec. 1998).

The General Assembly also passed the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, implementing the state constitutional amendment on victims’ rights passed by the North Carolina voters in 1996, and made substantial revisions to the motor vehicle forfeiture laws enacted in 1997. The first part of this bulletin concentrates on these two pieces of legislation. The remainder describes other criminal legislation, primarily affecting controlled substance offenses but also addressing a few other criminal offenses, miscellaneous aspects of criminal procedure, and sentencing.

aoj9805.pdf (pdf, 117.01 KB)
1997 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Saturday, November 1, 1997
Bulletin

This bulletin discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1997.

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aojb9703.pdf (pdf, 35.12 MB)
1996 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Thursday, August 1, 1996
Bulletin

This bulletin discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1996.

aojb9603.pdf (pdf, 5.11 MB)
1995 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure
John Rubin
Friday, September 1, 1995
Bulletin

This bulletin discusses legislation affecting criminal law and procedure passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1995.

aojb9503.pdf (pdf, 6.05 MB)
Topics - Courts and Judicial Administration