Failure to evacuate comes with increased fines

Failure to evacuate comes with increased fines

A change in law comes with a heftier fine for those who fail to evacuate during mandatory storm evacuations.

According to a revision to the state's emergency management legislation, which went into effect Oct. 1st, homeowners could be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 if they refuse to leave during an evacuation. The previous legislation charged only a class 3 misdemeanor and a $200 fine for the violation.

Morehead City resident, Lori Border, is against the increased legislation.

"I'm not going to sit here and have someone tell me what I have to do," she said. "There's a reason I live here."

Border has lived in Morehead City for most of her life. She said she's ridden out many storms, including Hurricane Irene.

"When Irene hit and we got hit head on, I didn't leave," Border said. "It wasn't that bad."

An officer with the Atlantic Beach Police Department said the town has never charged anyone with the offense, but said in the case of a rescue during a storm, it is possible the person rescued would be responsible for the cost, if an evacuation was ignored.

The revised law is one of several laws to take effect Monday, including a new version of the move-over law. The new version now requires motorists to change lanes or slow down while approaching utility and maintenance crews with flashing amber lights. The original law included only emergency response vehicles.

The Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2012, which aims to decrease the number of metal thefts, also took effect Monday. The new law requires metal recycles to obtain a permit from the sheriff's office. It also limits the amount of cash payments for metal transactions.

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