Bill Summary for H 540 (2019-2020)
|View NCGA Bill Details||2019-2020 Session|
AN ACT TO INCREASE JUDICIAL DISCRETION IN SENTENCING FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING OFFENSES AND TO REQUIRE THE NORTH CAROLINA SENTENCING AND POLICY ADVISORY COMMISSION TO STUDY THE ADVISABILITY OF REDUCING SENTENCES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING CONVICTIONS.Intro. by Murphy, Horn, Grange, Dobson.
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Identical to S 442, filed 4/1/19.
Amends GS 90-95(h), which sets out drug trafficking offenses. Adds that a sentencing judge may reduce the fine or impose a prison term less than the applicable minimum prison term, or suspend the prison term imposed and place a person on probation, if the sentencing judge enters all of the following findings in the record: (1) the defendant was suffering from an addiction to a controlled substance that was insufficient to constitute a defense but significantly reduced the defendant's culpability; (2) the defendant has accepted responsibility for the defendant's criminal conduct; (3) the defendant has completed a substance abuse assessment; and (4) the defendant has a good treatment prognosis, and a workable treatment plan is available. Places upon the defendant the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the required factors exist. Allows ordering that a term of imprisonment imposed as a condition of special probation be served at an inpatient facility for treatment of substance abuse. Requires the defendant bear the expense of any treatment unless the court finds, upon good cause shown, that the defendant should not be required to pay any or all of the cost of treatment and orders that the cost be absorbed by the State. Allows the judge to sets additional requirements related to the treatment. Allows the judge to credit against the active sentence imposed on a defendant the time the defendant was an inpatient at the treatment facility, so long as treatment occurred after the commission of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced. Requires that when the defendant is placed on probation, that the judge impose a requirement that the defendant abstain from the use of any controlled substance without a valid prescription and obtain the education or treatment recommended by the substance abuse assessment.
Amends GS 122C-142.1 by making conforming changes to require area authorities to provide substance abuse services as described in GS 90-95 to consideration at sentencing. Adds to the information that must be included in the annual report on substance abuse assessments so that it also includes the number of substance abuse assessments requested in order to be presented to the court at sentencing under GS 90-95. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.
Requires the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission to study three specified issues related to inmates incarcerated solely for a conviction of a drug trafficking offense under GS 90-5(h), including the advisability of reducing sentences imposed under structured sentencing based on the case facts and records of inmates. Requires a report to the specified NCGA committee by February 15, 2020.
Provides that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of this act are not abated or affected by this act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.