Administration of Justice Bulletin

1998 Legislation Affecting Criminal Law and Procedure

Tuesday, December 1, 1998

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.

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Topics - Courts and Judicial Administration