State v. Stevens, ___ N.C. App. ___, 831 S.E.2d 364 (Jul. 2, 2019)

temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 829 S.E.2d 907 (Aug. 1, 2019)

Defendant was charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle by citation on December 24, 2013. On December 21, 2015, the state filed a misdemeanor statement of charges alleging the same offenses. While those charges were pending in district court, the grand jury issued a presentment for the offenses on March 7, 2016, and the state obtained a corresponding indictment on March 21, 2016. The defense filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the superior court indictments were obtained after the two-year statute of limitations for the offense had run. The trial court granted the motion. 

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. Pursuant to State v. Curtis, 371 N.C. 355 (2018), the citation and misdemeanor statement of charges filed in district court tolled the statute of limitations. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the presentment and indictment “annulled” the original district court prosecution, thereby making the new charges in superior court untimely. The original charges were still pending in district court at the time the state obtained the indictment, and “[i]f an action in District Court was properly pending, as it was here, the statute of limitations continued to be tolled.”