Friday, October 26, 2012
So, to little fan fare and publicity, the North Carolina Traffic Law regarding the requirement to move over for emergency vehicles has recently changed. What requirements drivers face when approaching 'emergency vehicles' has changed to include new 'emergency personnel' that most people may not think to give consideration to. As a Raleigh Traffic Lawyer and Raleigh DWI Lawyer, I stay up-to-date on recent changes to the North Carolina Criminal codes so that I can better advise my clients. This change can have a lasting impact on those who are unaware of these new requirements. As most North Carolina drivers realize, when a Police Officer has someone pulled over on the side of the road, or there is an ambulance or fire truck on the side of the road, the driver is required to move over a lane and/or slow down and be prepared to stop until they have passed the police officer. However, the recent changes to the North Carolina Traffic Law N.C.G.S. 20-157 includes those same requirements for roadside assistance vehicles and emergency vehicles which have flashing yellow lights. The language of the statute does not specify a definition of 'emergency personnel' or which vehicles constitutes a 'safety vehicle.' However, given the law does specify the flashing yellow lights, it would seem to include government roadside assistant vehicles for those stranded on North Carolina roads, as well as possibly tow trucks assisting those same drivers. The changes to this law include spelling out what consequences a driver could face should they violate this law. Should the driver fail to move over and/or slow down, they would face an infraction with a two hundred and fifty dollar fine. If property damage to the emergency vehicle in excess of five hundred dollars or personal injury to the emergency personnel occur as a result of negligence of the driver, the the Driver will face a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Should serious bodily injury or death result, the driver would face a Class I Felony. These consequences can be serious for the Defendant and should not be taken lightly. If you are facing these charges, or any other traffic ticket in Wake County or other criminal charges, contact the Matheson Law Office for your free consultation.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
So, I realize it's been a while since my last blog post to the Raleigh DWI Attorney Blog. September was a hectic month and I really could not find time to breath. In truth, I'm still crazy busy with all of the Raleigh DWI Charges and Raleigh Criminal Charges I'm handling, but a recent article coming out of Boston warranted a blog post like no other. As covered by CBS and other news affiliates, a recent scandal at a Crime Lab in Massachusetts deals with a crime lab chemist who falsified test results. These results were not from tests to determine air quality or the impact of drilling on local streams or rivers. No, these results were from tests of potential drugs that were submitted to the STATE CRIME LAB to determine whether the individual in possession of them was, in fact, violating the law. What this means is, there are individuals who could currently be serving time for crimes they may not have committed. Now, certainly reading this, one would think it was likely some isolated incidents which were quickly discovered and rectified. In reality, this individual was a State Crime Lab Chemist for 9 years and tests over 60,000 drug samples. Well, it could be argued that perhaps there were simple mistakes made and not the intentional conduct of a State employee who could impact the conviction of every day citizens, right? Nope, this individual admitted to altering tests, going so far as to adding cocaine to some samples that came back as negative. Well, certainly her supervisors cannot be held accountable for her actions, how could they have known what she was up to, right? Well, where a normal Chemist in this office averaged processing 150 samples a month, this individual was processing 600. In fact, the staff at this State Crime Lab had nicknamed her 'Superwoman' for her ability to get so much done. Now, certainly the mistakes of an individual in Massachusetts does not impact those who are charged with violating North Carolina Drug Laws here. However, this situation goes to show that the system is imperfect. Where some may be quick to chastise someone charge and/or convicted of a North Carolina Law, they need to understand that our justice system is still a system designed, orchestrated and maintained by humans, who are prone to error. So, before you pass judgment on an individual under these situations, understand that there is the possibility that they are in fact innocent of the charges they face. If you are facing a Raleigh Misdemeanor Drug Charge or Raleigh Felony Drug Charge, contact the Matheson Law Office for a free consultation.