A bill North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue signed into law on August 27 could mean that drivers who inflict fatal personal injuries on others and are charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle could face much tougher penalties.
Lawmakers say the bill would grant judges the authority to sentence those convicted of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle to as much as 60 days in jail. The law goes into effect on December 1.
Purdue was joined by two families whose stories prompted the law.
One of them was the family of Marbeth Holmes, whose parents, Jimmy and Mary Charles Holmes, died in a crash on U.S. Highway 401 in Franklin County in June of last year when a driver crossed the center line and collided head-on with their vehicle.
The other was the family of 16-year-old Michael Martin, who died in 2005 in Cabarrus County when the vehicle he was a passenger in collided with a tree.
Under the current sentencing structures, those convicted of the charge would receive a suspended sentence and probation and have their licenses revoked for two years.