New North Carolina Law Will Make Spiking a Drink a Felony
In North Carolina, spiking a drink is not enough to get charged with a crime. For prosecutors to take action, there must be evidence that you poisoned food, or that you spiked a drink and then attempted or committed a sexual assault. This spring, the State House of Representatives approved a bill that would make drink spiking a felony, but the Senate has not taken any action on this proposed reform.
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we closely follow the legislative developments occurring in Raleigh–especially those that might affect the cases of our clients. When the General Assembly decides to amend the penal code, we will be ready to assist our clients if they become subject to a new type of criminal prosecution. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, contact us today at (980) 237-4579 for a free consultation.
Bill to Make Drink Spiking a Felony Dies in Committee
House Bill 393 would have closed several perceived loopholes in the North Carolina penal code. The bill proposed to amend General Statutes 14-401.11, which originally made it a crime to lace Halloween candy and other foods with poison or razors. If enacted, HB 393 would have made it a felony to knowingly put into someone’s food or drink “any noxious or deleterious substance,” any controlled substance, or any other chemical or physical object that might cause an injury, harm, death, or discomfort.
Sponsored by Representative Chaz Beasley, a Democrat from Mecklenburg, HB 393 also sought to clarify who is legally considered as a juvenile’s caretaker, and close a loophole in state law that makes it legal to have sex with someone who is too incapacitated to deny consent, if that person is to blame for their incapacitation. For now, if someone gets too drunk to say no, and you engage in sexual contact with that person, you will have a defense to sexual assault charges.
Although House Bill 393 passed the House of Representatives with anonymous approval, the Senate has taken no action on it since it landed in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. But this might not have anything to do with the bill’s substance. Since Governor Cooper vetoed the state budget in June, the General Assembly has been largely preoccupied with the budget crisis, and has not taken any action on many other pieces of legislation.
The General Assembly may consider HB 393 next year, during its 2020 short session. The bill may be amended at that time to include provisions of another bill that died in committee, SB 563. That bill proposed to reverse a controversial legal precedent that makes it impossible for a woman to revoke consent once penetration has begun. Next year may see significant reforms of some North Carolina’s longstanding sexual assault laws.
A Charlotte Felony Lawyer Can Help
North Carolina law treats sexual assault as a felony, which is the most serious category of crime. A felony is a crime that is punishable by a minimum term of one year in prison, and fines that can reach into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, felonies involve special restrictions after your release from prison. You will lose your right to possess firearms and be barred from many types of employment.
In other words, getting charged with a felony can ruin your life. But that’s where the Charlotte criminal defense lawyers of Randall & Stump, PLLC come in. We can thoroughly review your case, investigate the facts, and cross-examine the witnesses to ensure that your case gets the best defense possible. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, contact us today for a free consultation at (980) 237-4579.