Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
Get the Answer You Need
704-376-9376 Se Habla EspaƱol
Menu + - Practice Menu + -

Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

New law would test backlog of North Carolina sexual assault kits

Backlogs in evidence testing and court wait times are a major issue in many state across the United States. In North Carolina, a bill designed to speed up the testing process on sexual assault kits is one step closer to becoming a law. If enacted, the law would establish a statewide tracking system of bodily evidence related to sexual assault investigations, known as "rape kits," and would require the testing of all those that are currently untested. 

According to the 2017 Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Law Enforcement Inventory Report, there are 15,160 kits across the state that have not yet been tested. Advocates say that although testing the kits may not lead to a trial or conviction, knowing this step was taken may give some alleged victims closure on the state of their case. The bill passed its second House reading in early June and may soon become law in the state.

The importance of understanding marijuana laws in NC

Many states have recently been getting on the marijuana reform bandwagon, whether legalizing recreational cannabis as Colorado and Oregon have done, or allowing it for prescribed medical purposes only like in Arizona and New York. However, in roughly half of the states, including North Carolina, the use of marijuana is still heavily penalized. Regardless of your position on cannabis use, you could face severe charges for using the drug.

Lawmakers in North Carolina say the state has decriminalized the use of small amounts of cannabis, more or less. You might not face jail time for possessing 0.05 ounces or less of marijuana, but you would still face a misdemeanor charge and could be hit with up to $200 in fines. Not surprisingly, the potential penalties go up with subsequent charges or if law enforcement catches you with higher amounts of marijuana in your possession. The following points explain some of the marijuana laws in North Carolina:

  • Possessing between 0.05 and 1.5 ounces comes with a jail sentence of up to 45 days and a $1,000 fine.
  • It is a felony to possess between 1.5 ounces and 10 pounds, with a sentence of three to eight months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • The intent to distribute and the sale or delivery of 10 to less than 50 pounds of marijuana is a felony, carrying 25 to 39 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Cultivating marijuana plants is a felony charge.

Restraining order 50B dismissed and "victim" required to reimburse client for legal fees

Attorney Connelly defended his client's case showing that it was entirely frivolous. The end result was such that it was dismissed AND the so called "victim" was ordered by the court to reimburse our client for legal fees that she paid to defend her case.

New bills take aim at marijuana drug charges

Across the country, various states are taking steps to change the laws around marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use. The latest state to consider new laws around the drug is North Carolina, where the legislature is considering a pair of bills aimed at decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. If passed, the bill could mean fewer drug charges related to the substance in the state.

The two bills in question are Senate Bill 791 and House Bill 994. The bills as currently written would make it legal to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana, provided they were meant for personal use. Currently, people can face drug charges resulting in up to 20 days in jail for possessing half an ounce or more.

Drug charges filed re the so-called "meth highway"

Law enforcement often identify and patrol certain areas where they believe crimes are more likely to be committed. For North Carolina police, Interstate 85 has been dubbed the "meth highway" by police who say the road is frequented by drug traffickers. Recently, two people were arrested on drug charges that they were trafficking the drug along this route.

For the past three years, Interstate 85 has been patrolled for possible drug trafficking by law enforcement on federal, state and local levels. They say that methamphetamine bound for Rowan County often originates in Georgia. In this case, the seized drugs are suspected to have originated in the metro Atlanta area.

Groundbreaking Reinstatement of Gun Rights

In what appears to be the first in recent history, Attorney Chris Connelly fought to have the firearm rights restored for a client who been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution. The client had been briefly committed during a tough time in his life many years ago.  Nonetheless, this commitment barred him under NCGS 14-404 from ever possessing any firearm. Attorney Connelly fought for him by petitioning under NCGS 14-409.42 that he was no longer a danger to the community, showing that he had now been sober and healthy for many years, was a man of faith with many stable, supportive relationships, was gainfully employed and owned his own company. This type of petition had not been done in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County in anyone's memory so it necessitated collaborating with the court clerk's office to laboriously devise a procedure from the ground up to bring it to fruition. The Order restoring the client's right to bear arms was signed and the client looks forward to being able to protect himself and his family once again after being statutorily barred for so long.

Authorities pledge to crack down on crime with more drug charges

Authorities and lawmakers often try new initiatives to combat crime in their jurisdiction. In Eastern North Carolina, federal authorities are joining forces with state and local law enforcement in an effort to combat violent and drug crime in the area. Under the new initiative, called the Take Back North Carolina Initiative, federal prosecutors will be focused on filing drug charges across the eastern part of the state.

The Take Back North Carolina Initiative was announced in New Bern in May 2018. The initiative was announced by the United States Attorney's Office, which hopes to target the most serious offenders in six geographic regions across the state. Among these are Kinston, Jacksonville and New Bern.

Durham changes policy on domestic violence protective orders

Although state law offers guidelines, the treatment of domestic violence cases by local law enforcement can vary from county to county. Although North Carolina law permits district courts the ability to issue civil protection orders when court is not in session, few counties offer "overnight" restraining orders. Durham County was one of the areas that used to offer civil domestic violence protection orders, but it recently chose to stop this practice. 

Prior to stopping the practice, magistrates in Durham County would issue the ex parte protection orders with the requirement that plaintiffs go before a judge on the following day. The Chief Magistrate requested that this ability be removed, however, as his office found that the plaintiffs in these cases were often not in emergency situations. He also called the process redundant while adding that many petitioners were referred from other counties which did not have this ability.

13 people face drug charges following North Carolina raid

While individual drug charges occur across the country, larger-scale busts of organized operations are often most targeted by police. These busts often result in multiple drug charges that may be accompanied by accusations of violent crimes or illegal firearm possession. A recent North Carolina bust resulted in multiple people charged with crimes related to marijuana possession and distribution. A few of those arrested were also charged with possession of drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine and heroine. Firearm charges and parole violations were also reported in this case.

The multitude of charges came as the result of a two-day joint operation, entitled "Operation Hammer Time" by police. The operation took place in the Happy Hill neighbourhood of the Rocky Mount area. Five search warrants were executed in relation to the operation. 

"Ghost" cars will now be used to prevent drunk driving

Impaired driving is a serious issue across the United States, and many regional and state authorities have tried different tactics to address the issue. In North Carolina, State Highway Patrol officers have adopted a new tool to help them combat drunk driving in the state. These new low-key vehicles, known as "ghost" patrol cars, were unveiled in April 2018.

The "ghost" car is a Dodge Charger and is similar to the regular marked and unmarked Chargers currently used by North Carolina State Highway Patrol. However, unlike these other vehicles, the words "State Trooper" along the side of the new cars is glow-in-the-dark. During the daytime, the dark grey words are less visible against the car's grey background.

Meet the Office Mascots

  • Murraye Connelly is a 5th generation Labradoodle, extremely intelligent, comical and endearingly impish, and occasionally confounding. More Photos

  • Dustyeis a gaited (also known as racking) Registered Tennessee Walking Horse. He is a sweet tempered, playful, noble buckskin who loves to give rides to kids. More Photos

  • Sir Winston Churchill Connelly Memorial Page was a red Labradoodle bred from a mahogany miniature French Poodle and a red English Lab. He was doted upon by staff and clients alike, stealing their hearts with his sweet disposition. More Photos