Implied-Consent Offense Procedures.
§ 20-38.1. Applicability.
The procedures set forth in this Article shall be followed for the investigation and processing of an implied-consent offense as defined in G.S. 20-16.2. The trial procedures shall apply to any implied-consent offense litigated in the District Court Division. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.2. Investigation.
A law enforcement officer who is investigating an implied-consent offense or a vehicle crash that occurred in the officer's territorial jurisdiction is authorized to investigate and seek evidence of the driver's impairment anywhere in-state or out-of-state, and to make arrests at any place within the State. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.3. Police processing duties.
Upon the arrest of a person, with or without a warrant, but not necessarily in the order listed, a law enforcement officer:
(1) Shall inform the person arrested of the charges or a cause for the arrest.
(2) May take the person arrested to any place within the State for one or more chemical analyses at the request of any law enforcement officer and for any evaluation by a law enforcement officer, medical professional, or other person to determine the extent or cause of the person's impairment.
(3) May take the person arrested to some other place within the State for the purpose of having the person identified, to complete a crash report, or for any other lawful purpose.
(4) May take photographs and fingerprints in accordance with G.S. 15A-502.
(5) Shall take the person arrested before a judicial official for an initial appearance after completion of all investigatory procedures, crash reports, chemical analyses, and other procedures provided for in this section. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.4. Initial appearance.
(a) Appearance Before a Magistrate. - Except as modified in this Article, a magistrate shall follow the procedures set forth in Article 24 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes.
(1) A magistrate may hold an initial appearance at any place within the county and shall, to the extent practicable, be available at locations other than the courthouse when it will expedite the initial appearance.
(2) In determining whether there is probable cause to believe a person is impaired, the magistrate may review all alcohol screening tests, chemical analyses, receive testimony from any law enforcement officer concerning impairment and the circumstances of the arrest, and observe the person arrested.
(3) If there is a finding of probable cause, the magistrate shall consider whether the person is impaired to the extent that the provisions of G.S. 15A-534.2 should be imposed.
(4) The magistrate shall also:
a. Inform the person in writing of the established procedure to have others appear at the jail to observe his condition or to administer an additional chemical analysis if the person is unable to make bond; and
b. Require the person who is unable to make bond to list all persons he wishes to contact and telephone numbers on a form that sets forth the procedure for contacting the persons listed. A copy of this form shall be filed with the case file.
(b) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall adopt forms to implement this Article. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.5. Facilities.
(a) The Chief District Court Judge, the Department of Health and Human Services, the district attorney, and the sheriff shall:
(1) Establish a written procedure for attorneys and witnesses to have access to the chemical analysis room.
(2) Approve the location of written notice of implied-consent rights in the chemical analysis room in accordance with G.S. 20-16.2.
(3) Approve a procedure for access to a person arrested for an implied-consent offense by family and friends or a qualified person contacted by the arrested person to obtain blood or urine when the arrested person is held in custody and unable to obtain pretrial release from jail.
(b) Signs shall be posted explaining to the public the procedure for obtaining access to the room where the chemical analysis of the breath is administered and to any person arrested for an implied-consent offense. The initial signs shall be provided by the Department of Transportation, without costs. The signs shall thereafter be maintained by the county for all county buildings and the county courthouse.
(c) If the instrument for performing a chemical analysis of the breath is located in a State or municipal building, then the head of the highway patrol for the county, the chief of police for the city or that person's designee shall be substituted for the sheriff when determining signs and access to the chemical analysis room. The signs shall be maintained by the owner of the building. When a breath testing instrument is in a motor vehicle or at a temporary location, the Department of Health and Human Services shall alone perform the functions listed in subdivisions (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.6. Motions and district court procedure.
(a) The defendant may move to suppress evidence or dismiss charges only prior to trial, except the defendant may move to dismiss the charges for insufficient evidence at the close of the State's evidence and at the close of all of the evidence without prior notice. If, during the course of the trial, the defendant discovers facts not previously known, a motion to suppress or dismiss may be made during the trial.
(b) Upon a motion to suppress or dismiss the charges, other than at the close of the State's evidence or at the close of all the evidence, the State shall be granted reasonable time to procure witnesses or evidence and to conduct research required to defend against the motion.
(c) The judge shall summarily grant the motion to suppress evidence if the State stipulates that the evidence sought to be suppressed will not be offered in evidence in any criminal action or proceeding against the defendant.
(d) The judge may summarily deny the motion to suppress evidence if the defendant failed to make the motion pretrial when all material facts were known to the defendant.
(e) If the motion is not determined summarily, the judge shall make the determination after a hearing and finding of facts. Testimony at the hearing shall be under oath.
(f) The judge shall set forth in writing the findings of fact and conclusions of law and preliminarily indicate whether the motion should be granted or denied. If the judge preliminarily indicates the motion should be granted, the judge shall not enter a final judgment on the motion until after the State has appealed to superior court or has indicated it does not intend to appeal. (2006-253, s. 5.)
§ 20-38.7. Appeal to superior court.
(a) The State may appeal to superior court any district court preliminary determination granting a motion to suppress or dismiss. If there is a dispute about the findings of fact, the superior court shall not be bound by the findings of the district court but shall determine the matter de novo. Any further appeal shall be governed by Article 90 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes.
(b) The defendant may not appeal a denial of a pretrial motion to suppress or to dismiss but may appeal upon conviction as provided by law.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 15A-1431, for any implied-consent offense that is first tried in district court and that is appealed to superior court by the defendant for a trial de novo as a result of a conviction, when an appeal is withdrawn or a case is remanded back to district court, the sentence imposed by the district court is vacated and the district court shall hold a new sentencing hearing and shall consider any new convictions unless one of the following conditions is met:
(1) If the appeal is withdrawn pursuant to G.S. 15A-1431(c), the prosecutor has certified to the clerk, in writing, that the prosecutor has no new sentencing factors to offer the court.
(2) If the appeal is withdrawn and remanded pursuant to G.S. 15A-1431(g), the prosecutor has certified to the clerk, in writing, that the prosecutor has no new sentencing factors to offer the court.
(3) If the appeal is withdrawn and remanded pursuant to G.S. 15A-1431(h), the prosecutor has certified to the clerk, in writing, that the prosecutor consents to the withdrawal and remand and has no new sentencing factors to offer the court.
(d) Following a new sentencing hearing in district court pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, a defendant has a right of appeal to the superior court only if:
(1) The sentence is based upon additional facts considered by the district court that were not considered in the previously vacated sentence, and
(2) The defendant would be entitled to a jury determination of those facts pursuant to G.S. 20-179.
A defendant who has a right of appeal under this subsection, gives notice of appeal, and subsequently withdraws the appeal shall have the sentence imposed by the district court reinstated by the district court as a final judgment that is not subject to further appeal. (2006-253, s. 5; 2007-493, s. 9; 2008-187, s. 10; 2015-150, s. 5; 2015-264, s. 39(a).)