Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.


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E.g., 06/29/2024
E.g., 06/29/2024

For the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the court reversed State v. McKenzie, 225 N.C. App. 208 (Jan. 15, 2013), which had held, over a dissent, that prosecuting the defendant for DWI violated double jeopardy where the defendant previously was subjected to a one-year disqualification of his commercial driver’s license under G.S. 20-17.4.

Lee v. Gore, 365 N.C. 227 (Aug. 26, 2011)

Affirming a divided decision below, Lee v. Gore, 206 N.C. App. 374 (Aug. 17, 2010), the court held that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may not revoke driving privileges for a willful refusal to submit to chemical analysis absent receipt of an affidavit swearing that the refusal was indeed willful. The court reasoned that because G.S. 20-16.2(d) requires that the DMV first receive a “properly executed affidavit” from law enforcement swearing to a willful refusal to submit to chemical analysis before revoking driving privileges, DMV lacked the authority to revoke the petitioner’s driving privileges. In this case, the officer swore out the DHHS 3907 affidavit and attached to that affidavit the DHHS 3908 chemical analysis result form indicating the test was “refused.” However, neither document indicated that the petitioner’s refusal to participate in chemical analysis was willful.

In this license revocation case arising from a DWI charge, the court concluded that the DMV did not have jurisdiction to revoke the petitioner’s drivers license because the affidavit submitted to the DMV showed that the arresting officer designated a blood test but that the petitioner refused a breath test.  Quoting extensively from Lee v. Gore, 365 N.C. 227 (2011) and emphasizing the DMV’s “limited authority” to suspend a driver’s license, the court explained that because the Affidavit and Revocation Report of Law Enforcement Officer form (DHHS 3907) filed in this case “states that [the officer] designated one type of test and the petitioner refused another type of test,” it did not evidence a willful refusal under G.S. 20-16.2 – a necessary condition precedent under these circumstances to the DMV’s exercise of jurisdiction to revoke the petitioner’s license.

Hoots v. Robertson, 214 N.C. App. 181 (Aug. 2, 2011)

The trial court erred by determining that a clerical error on a law enforcement officer’s affidavit under G.S. 20-16.2(d) divests the DMV of its authority to suspend the driving privileges of a person who has willfully refused to submit to a chemical analysis when charged with an implied consent offense where the error does not involve an element of the offense of willful refusal. The clerical error involved listing the time of refusal as 3:45 am instead of 3:47 am.

(1) In an appeal of a driver’s license revocation under G.S. 20-16.2(e), the court declined to consider the defendant’s argument that the officer lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop his vehicle. Reasonable and articulable suspicion for the stop is not relevant to determinations in connection with a license revocation; the only inquiry with respect to the officer, the court explained, is that he or she have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed an implied consent offense. Here, the evidence supported that conclusion. (2) The exclusionary rule does not apply in a civil license revocation proceeding.

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