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10 Laws You Should Know If You're in North Carolina

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

North Carolina has been host to colonists, pirates, rebels, and tobacco farmers, so you may guess that the state also has a rich legal history.

You may only be visiting North Carolina for some good BBQ or planning to put down roots in Raleigh-Durham, but either way, you need to know the laws of the land.

While in the Tar Heel State, be sure to know these 10 laws:

  1. DUI threshold. Drunken driving in North Carolina is much the same as anywhere else in the country -- illegal, and there's a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.
  2. Using your cell phone while driving. The North State barred drivers from texting while driving back in December 2009.
  3. Getting a divorce. North Carolina is a "no-fault divorce" state, but you can't exactly get divorced immediately. You may have to be legally separated for one year before pursuing your no-fault divorce.
  4. Marital property division. Like many East Coast states, North Carolina does not recognize marital property as community property. This means without an agreement like a prenup in place, each spouse will only get what's "fair" upon divorce.
  5. Injuries: Who's at fault? Even the professors at Duke University can do something stupid, but if you're even partially at fault for an accident, you cannot recover in a negligence lawsuit in North Carolina.
  6. Gun Laws. The Tar Heel State is the birthplace of Krispy Kreme and many gun owners. But if you want to carry a concealed firearm there, you'll need to wait 30 days to get a permit.
  7. Statutes of limitations. Planning to sue your neighbor for smashing your mailbox? In North Carolina you have up to three years to file a personal property damage claim; the time limits are different for other types of injuries and crimes.
  8. Income tax. Personal income tax in North Carolina will be fairly simple starting in the 2015 tax year -- a flat tax of 5.75 percent for all filers.
  9. Gambling. North Carolina is pretty tight on restrictions for gambling, but you may do it legally if you're on an Indian reservation.
  10. Age restrictions. Those under 18 can't legally consent to much without a parent or guardian, but they can consent to drug rehab or pregnancy care.

Don't be a heel in the Tar Heel State. Learn more about North Carolina by visiting FindLaw's section on North Carolina's laws.

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