It really is entertaining (sad, really) to see the stupidity coming out of our Legislative Branch. The Tories have been out of government for so long that now that they’re in they’re acting like schoolboys unleashed in the unattended tuck shop.
(Some boring law. Sorry.) In North Carolina misdemeanors are classified in one of four ways: A1, 1, 2 and 3. A1 is the most serious class and includes crimes such as Assault on a Female and Assault on a Government Official. A1 misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 150 days in jail. Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious class including things like trespassing and possession of less then a 1/2 ounce of marijuana. Class 3 misdemeanors carry a maximum punishment of 20 days in jail. To achieve the potential for a maximum punishment under any class of misdemeanor, the offender must have at least five prior convictions of any crime.
Up until the other day, Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) was a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Now, thanks to our legislature, DWLR is a Class 3 misdemeanor. At the same time that our government was kind enough – amazingly – to lower the punishment for DWLR, it also chose to expand the definition of sexual intercourse for prostitution purposes, making it easier to prove prostitution either against the practitioner of the oldest profession or the customer of said practitioner (guess what the second oldest profession is? Hint: Someone had to defend those smart, attractive, entrepreneurial ladies against the religious police and misogynists).
But don’t be fooled into believing that the generosity on the (DWLR) one hand and the more typical draconianism on the (prostitution) other hand are inconsistent with each other. They’re not. Let’s not forget who is in charge at the moment. So what’s going on?
Let’s look at the less surprising action of the government: the Prostitution law. (Yes, our government wants to spend its time and our money legislating morality). Previously, prostitution required the act of sexual intercourse, and sexual intercourse was narrowly defined as the sex act involving the placing of the penis into the vagina. In fact, the heaving thrust of the seminal case of State v Richardson made it crystal clear in its probing and penetrating analysis of the depth and breadth of prior law that if the legislature had intended to include cunnilingus, fellatio, buggery, masturbation, sodomy and any other sex acts that did not involve the penis entering the vagina that the legislature would have done so with specificity. And don’t you know it, the sweaty, panting legislative body has now done so with specificity. So all those things are now included in the definition of sexual intercourse, and a person offering those services in exchange for money is now a prostitute – we have created a criminal that previously didn’t exist. And those people seeking those services are also now criminals too.
And I ask you. Who cares? Who the fuck cares? If I have a talent that I want to sell then I should be allowed to sell it. And If I want to pay for that talent, I should be allowed to buy it.
So now instead of the titillation of defending prostitution cases on the theory that the prosecutor (prostitute?) can’t prove sexual intercourse because the act or the solicitation for the act might have been cunnilingus, fellatio, buggery etc. etc. that enjoyment will be replaced with the titillation of arguing that sniffing a vagina or having one’s chest defecated upon for money is not crime because the sex police hadn’t thought of it and didn’t include it in their definition of what they disapprove of.
What fun!
(I wonder if my offering to fuck with the government for money – which is what I do – will one day be criminalized too.)
So why the kindness on the DWLR front? There is no kindness here. Quite the opposite. This change in the law is motivated by nothing but mean-spiritedness. Here’s why: Those accused of Class 1 misdemeanors must be advised of their 6th Amendment Rights to Counsel and the possible consequences of their convictions. Those accused of Class 3 misdemeanors need not be advised. So lowering DWLR to a Class 3 misdemeanor means that a person charged with a DWLR because he forgot to pay a seatbelt ticket will not be told that his conviction will result in a year’s suspension of his driver’s license and that he has a right to a lawyer. This same person will reasonably believe that he can pay off his seatbelt ticket and his subsequent DWLR and carry on his merry way. Except that, when he does all of that, he’ll be in for a rude surprise when he receives that letter from DMV telling him his license is suspended for a year.
And why did the legislature do this? Because they don’t want to have to pay for a public defender or court-appointed lawyer to represent the person who might not face the requisite criminal punishment that warrants the advisement and the appointment of a lawyer but still requires the potentially devastating effect of the loss of his driver’s license. Interestingly, while a driver’s license is a privilege – and not a right – our State constitution protects privileges. Someone ought to argue that under our State constitution, a person charged with DWLR, regardless of the criminal punishment, should still be entitled to a lawyer. But that’s the argument the public defender would make, but if the public defender never gets appointed, how does he make it? So, the poor will continue to get fucked.
I think I know who the prostitutes are here. The bought and sold politicians. Bend over Messrs. McCrory, Berger and Tillis.