New North Carolina laws address longtime crimes, new tech

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Age-old criminal misconduct and challenges from new technology are addressed in that 20 North Carolina laws that take effect partially or in full Friday.

The General Assembly passed legislation this year agreeing to expand rules or crimes addressing drones, “revenge porn” and self-driving cars, in addition to pushing through new or tougher penalties for human trafficking or deadly domestic violence. Other new legal offenses or procedures were initiated.

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FIGHTING GANGS

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Police and prosecutors said a 2008 law addressing gang activity and violence was difficult to use in prosecuting gang members. So lawmakers replaced separate felony counts for criminal gang leaders or members with increased penalties for underlying crimes if jurors decide the offense was committed as part of gang activity. New language also is designed to make it easier to declare a business a public nuisance because gang activity occurs there and shut it down.

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BRITNY’S LAW

The shooting death of a Wake County woman by her boyfriend — the father of her child — prompted lawmakers to increase the likelihood that similar domestic violence attackers could face the most severe category of murder for their crimes. “Britny’s Law,” named after the slain woman, creates the legal presumption that a homicide constitutes first-degree murder if the slaying was committed with malice and the defendant had previously been convicted of domestic violence against or stalking of the victim. The defendant can attempt to override that presumption in court. First-degree murder is punishable by death or life in prison. Britny Puryear’s killer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received prison time.

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MASSAGE PARLORS

In an attempt to thwart human trafficking at businesses sometimes used as fronts for prostitution, the General Assembly created new standards and licensure requirements for establishments that provide massage and bodywork therapy services. Portions of the law taking effect Friday establish a misdemeanor crime for a business that hires someone unlicensed to perform such work and make the previous crime of human trafficking a more severe felony than before.

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REVENGE PORN

The state already had a law making it a crime for someone to post nude images of an ex-lover online without that person’s consent and with intent to cause harm. Now the…

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