RALEIGH –More than 40 new N.C. laws went into effect Saturday.
One new law bans devices known as “alcohol inhalers,” which convert liquor into a mist that can be inhaled by the user. Lawmakers were concerned that the devices, which were assembled and distributed by a Greensboro company, were being marketed to underage drinkers. Another law establishes rules for alcohol-detecting technology, which is used in ankle bracelets worn by some defendants convicted of drunken driving. Also, people can lose their driver’s licenses for providing alcohol to anyone younger than 21. The penalty is important because many underage drinkers get alcohol from friends or family members, said Craig Lloyd, the executive director of the N.C. chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Penalties have increased for anyone who kills an animal through intentional starvation, and for anyone who kills a police animal or an assistance animal such as a seeing-eye dog.
Animal rights activists supported those two laws, although an official with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said she objects to the idea that certain animals, such as police dogs, should be elevated above ordinary companion animals.
A third law dealing with animals legalizes a practice known as “earth-dog trials.” The practice involves placing a caged rat at the end of an underground tunnel. A dog such as a dachshund or terrier is encouraged to follow the scent of the rat through the tunnel and then bark, scratch or paw at the rat’s cage. The “trial” is said to be a simulated hunting situation and is sometimes used for entertainment.
Desecrating a gravestone or other cemetery monument is now considered a low-level felony, and the punishment has increased for people who carry a weapon while violating a domestic violence order.
There are also tougher penalties for people who steal high-priced metals, such as copper and aluminum, or who engage in the organized theft of retail merchandise with the intent to resell it.
It will be harder to get out of a speeding ticket if the speed is more than 25 mph over the speed limit. People caught speeding at that level can no longer get a “prayer for judgment continued” from a judge or plead guilty to the lesser offense of having a broken speedometer.
NC Policy Watch has a few more summaries and we have attached the entire PDF of enacted laws (all 419 pages) through November.