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Hello and thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear of this unfortunate situation. In order to provide the most relevant and useful answer to your question, I will need more information regarding the specific charge. Here is the North Carolina Animal Cruelty statute http://www.ncraoa.com/articles/statutes/Article47_14_360.htmlNorth Carolina does not appear to have a law specific to leaving an animal in a parked vehicle and there does not seem to be a section under the Animal Cruelty statute that fits the circumstances you describe. Is there any more information contained on what was given to you? I look forward to working with you to provide the answer you seek.
I will retrieve the citation and send exact info from it. It will take a few minutes. Thank You
C(NNN) NNN-NNNNX North Carolina Uniform Citation Statesville -Wed - 9/11/13 9:00am- Carolyn Jane Elswick, 380 Haddad Place, Madison, WV, 25130 Vehicle License No 8UT-296 WV Mustang, Ford
ACKNOWLEDGMENT/NONRESIDENY PERSONAL RECOGNIANCE FOR APPEARANCE
Officer: Jess Scott NO: 5177, (I think), TROOP B, DISTRICT 52
NC Patrol: Statesville
AREA: B, WEA: C VIS: C TRAFFIC: L E. Broad St. at: JR's PVA
√ 16: Cruelty to animals to wit did leave a dog locked inside a motor vehicle with no AC or water source while outside temperature was 81 degrees for approximately 1 hour. GS 14-360 (21) It also says there were 2 witnesses. I maintain this was impossible. Did witnesses check time? I left a Charlotte gas station in South Park at 12:57 then received a phone call from my daughter at 2:08 as I was heading to the first check-out (cigarettes). I went to the second check-out directly where I was delayed purposefully to keep me there until the police arrived. My credit card was refused after I had just used it, when I called about it, they couldn't explain why it was turned down, then my check was turned down. I know this probably doesn't have any bearing on the ticket, however it does seem criminal that a store would hold me up if they were concerned enough about my dog to call the police. Thank You
I have given all the info I have.
Thank you for your response and the additional information. It appears that the charge may be under 14-360(a) as this is the least severe crime mentioned and is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Here again is the statute http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-360.htmlThe maximum penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina where the defendant has no prior record is 1-45 days of community punishment (not jail). It is likely that you would be able to receive a deferred disposition where the case would be dismissed following a period of time, usually about six months, during which you would complete any conditions imposed by the court. After the case is dismissed you could then apply for expungement of the record which would essentially leave you with no criminal record, except that the record of the charge would still be available to law enforcement. The law provides that no person "as to whom an order of expunction has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury, or to be guilty of otherwise giving a false statement or response to any inquiry made for any purpose, by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge any expunged entries concerning apprehension or trial." See GS 15A-146 http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_15A/GS_15A-146.pdfNevertheless, based on the circumstances you describe, you may want to fight the charge and negotiate for an immediate dismissal. You would best be able to do that with a local criminal defense attorney. The consequences of a conviction to you seem just too great to risk going it alone. As you noted a conviction on this charge would likely affect your ability to continue your volunteer work and your retirement plans. A misdemeanor conviction is only eligible for expungement in NC after 15 years.An attorney would be in the best position to evaluate the case and advise you with regard to your options based on the unique circumstances of your case. Keep in mind that all the police needed to give you a citation was probable cause. However, a prosecutor would need to prove the charge and each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Based on your description of the circumstances you seem to have a good defense. An attorney would also be able to advise you on any necessary documents and information to obtain or produce to best support your case. It may be that the case could be dismissed outright when all the facts are known. You can locate a local criminal defense attorney with experience in the court where the case is scheduled to be heard through the NC Bar Association referral service that you can find here http://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service/for-the-publicA local attorney would have knowledge of the court practices, prosecutors, judges, and police and would likely be able to obtain the best disposition. An attorney would also be able to guide you through the expungement process once you obtain a dismissal of the case.Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.
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