hirty-five new laws, most of them criminal, took effect in North Carolina yesterday, which we suppose is a good thing although we prefer fewer criminals to more laws.
Several of the new laws had us wondering what took so long, for example:
n The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also called Ethen’s law, affords protection to an unborn child who dies along with his murdered pregnant mother. North Carolina joins about three dozen other states and the federal government with similar laws, which allow for the prosecution of the accused for the murder or manslaughter of not only the mother, but the developing fetus. The law specifically exempts legalized abortions.
n “Laura’s Law” is also named for a victim, 17-year-old Laura Fortenberry of Gaston County, who was killed by a drunken driver who had multiple offenses for driving while impaired. The new law requires repeat driving-while-impaired offenders whose cases have other aggravating factors to receive from one to three years in prison and face fines of up to $10,000. The court could also require electronic alcohol monitoring of some offenders.
n Would-be burglars might want to pay attention to a new law that gives a person more legal standing if they fire a lawful weapon to protect themselves from someone who is illegally entering their home, car or business. The owner of the home, car or business will now be presumed exempt from criminal or civil liability on the theory they feared for their safety or life. Previously, they carried a higher burden in trying to justify why they fired. If would-be burglars in this county can read, and read this, perhaps the number of those assaults on personal properties will decline.
n And law-abiding folks who move from here to there will applaud the “Run and You’re Done” law, which makes it less likely for thinking criminals — is that an oxymoron? — to depress the gas pedal when a blue light is in their rear-view mirror. Those who do, and don’t kill themselves during the chase, risk having their vehicle seized by the local sheriff and then sold at auction, with the proceeds going to benefit the local school district.
All of the laws attempt to heighten the protection of the unsuspecting public, while exposing those who menace our society to tougher penalties. What’s not to like?