Today, 35 new laws are taking effect in North Carolina. One of the more notable laws going into effect today is the fetal protection law. This law creates separate crimes against the mother and unborn child when a pregnant woman is physically attacked. This makes it possible for prosecutors to charge someone with murder or manslaughter for causing the death of an unborn child in addition to crimes against the woman. The purpose of this law is to hold assailants more accountable for their actions. The charges for crimes against the fetus can carry a sentence of up to life in prison without parole.
This law is also known as Ethen’s law in honor of the unborn son of Jennifer Nielsen, who was killed in 2007 as she delivered newspapers in Raleigh. Her father and many others have been fighting for this legislation for many years. Currently, about three dozen other states and the federal government already recognize an unborn child as an additional victim of crime.
Another new law taking effect today is “Laura’s Law”. This law was named in honor of Lauren Fortenberry who was killed last year when a motorist with multiple drunken driving offenses collided with another car. This law requires repeat driving-while-impaired offenders whose cases have other aggravating factors to receive increased prison sentences and fines. Hopefully, this new law will keep impaired drivers off the road and prevent further tragedies from occurring.
Some other laws taking effect today:
- Run and You’re Done: A car driven by a suspect charged with a felony for a police chase will be seized by the local sheriff. The vehicle will be sold if the suspect is convicted of the felony, with proceeds going to the local school districts.
- Disturbing/Dismembering Human Remains: Creates a criminal penalty for disturbing or dismembering human remains.
- Various Gun Laws/Castle Doctrine: Provides more legal standing for a person to use defensive force against an intruder and also amends various laws regarding the right to own, possess, or carry a firearm.
- Motorcycle Safety Act: Creates additional protections for motorcyclists from unsafe movements by other vehicles.
- Amended Conditions Of Probation: Requires all felony offenders released from prison to be supervised by probation officers for nine months or a year, depending on their crimes. Such supervision has been limited to the worst offenders in the past.
To read more about other new laws taking effect today visit the North Carolina General Assembly Website.