This post from Shea Denning on the procedural history of State v. Osterhoudt is helpful and re-affirms the role of the Superior Court when the State fails to dispute the findings of fact entered by a District Court Judge. Fair warning.  This post requires two or three readings as do most articles on this subject.

I think it is clear that the Superior Court acts as an appellate court and unless there is a timely objection to the findings of fact entered by the trial court, the State's appeal is limited solely to the question of whether the findings of fact are supported by the conclusions of law. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to provide the litigants with a bright line rule as to when the State must lodge an objection to the findings of fact.  Without a brightline statutory rule, it seems the appellate courts will analyze this question by imposing a rule of "reasonablness".
Although 15A-1432(b) provides some indication that 10 days represents the ceiling of reasonableness in terms of when the State must act in response to an adverse ruling in the District Court, the DWI statute is a peculiar creature; so much so, that the Court of Appeals refused in State v. Palmer to assume that the legislature intended to impose the same ten day time limit for the State's appeal in implied consent cases.  So, we are left with a ten day time limit for the State's appeal for every type of case, except implied consent cases.   See this excerpt from Shea Denning's bulletin on Fowler and Palmer, which is helpful.

Recognizing that the implied consent offense procedures do not set forth procedures govern-ing the State's appeal to superior court from a district court's preliminary determination, the court looked to analogous provisions of G.S. 15A-1432, which governs appeals by the State to superior court from a district court's dismissal of criminal charges. In doing so, however, the court "decline[d] to engraft upon N.C.G.S. § 20-38.7(a) the ten-day time limit for making an ap-peal specified in N.C.G.S. § 15A-1432(b)." 46 Then, assuming without deciding that the State was required to file a written notice of appeal, the court examined whether the State's written notice of appeal sufficiently conformed with the remaining requirements of G.S. 15A-1432(b).
The Palmer court found that the State's written notice of appeal met the remaining require-ments of G.S. 15A-1432(b). The State filed a document captioned "State's Appeal to Superior Court," including in the caption the defendant's name and address and the case file number.47The document stated that the State "appeals to the superior court the district court preliminary determination granting a motion to suppress or dismiss," enumerated the issues raised in the defendant's motion, and recited "almost verbatim all of the district court's findings of fact."48The court rejected the superior court's conclusion that the State's failure to provide the date of the preliminary determination rendered its notice of appeal insufficient. The court likewise re-jected the defendant's contention that the State's failure to include the month on its certificate of service rendered the State's appeal insufficient as a matter of law, noting that the defendant was not misled or prejudiced by the error.
So, when must the State articulate it's basis for an appeal?  Your guess is as good as mine, but
this excerpt from Shea Denning's bulletin also supports the notion that the State must act "reasonably" when it comes to matters of procedural due process.

Due process
Next, the Fowler court considered whether the provisions violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or the law of the land clause of article I, section 19, ofthe North Carolina Constitution (which affords the same protection as the Due Process Clause) by giving the State the advantage of immediate appeal before a final judgment is entered.
The court rejected the defendant's argument that G.S. 20-38.6(a) infringes upon a defendant's fundamental right to a fair trial by requiring a defendant charged with an implied consent of-fense in district court to move to suppress evidence or dismiss charges pretrial without the ben-efit of any statutory right to pretrial discovery. Recognizing that G.S. 20-38.6(a) expressly allowsa defendant to make a motion to suppress or dismiss during trial if the motion is based on facts first discovered during the course of the trial, the court held that any unfair surprise that might
38. See United States v. Scott, 437 U.S. 82 (1978) (holding that the Double Jeopardy Clause did notbar the government's appeal of trial court's midtrial dismissal of charges upon defendant's motion ongrounds of preindictment delay that were unrelated to the legal sufficiency of the evidence).
39. 115 N.C. App. 547, 445 S.E.2d 610 (1994).40. State v. Fowler, ___ N.C. App. ___ , ___ , 676 S.E.2d 523, 539-40.

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10 Administration of Justice Bulletin

arise from the discovery of new facts is tempered by allowing defendants to make motions to suppress or dismiss during the course of the trial on the basis of newly discovered facts.
The court likewise rejected defendant's argument that because G.S. 20-38.6(f) and G.S. 20-38.7(a) do not specify a period of time by which the State must appeal from a district court's preliminary determination, the provisions infringe upon defendants' fundamental right to a speedy trial. The court explained that in the absence of a rule prescribing the time for perfecting an appeal, an appeal must be taken and perfected within a reasonable time, and that reasonable-ness depends on the circumstances of the case.
After determining that the provisions infringed no fundamental rights, the court evaluated the provisions to determine whether they rationally related to a legitimate State interest. The court determined that the pretrial motions procedure was designed to improve the safety of the driving public (presumably by resulting in the dismissal of fewer implied consent cases), a legiti-mate State interest, and that the enactment of procedures governing motions practice in implied consent cases was reasonably related to that goal.

Bottom line seems to be that in implied consent cases,  the State must give notice of appeal and articulate the basis for an appeal within a reasonable time.  Ten days from the date upon which the Judge's Order was served on the District Attorney seems reasonable to me.  The farther away you get from ten days, the farther away you get from traditional notions of fair play, substantial justice and due process.

Hope this helps,
David________________________________________Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C.David R. Teddy1219 Fallston RoadShelby, N.C.  28150
704-487-1234; office704-487-1251; faxwww.teddyandmeekins.com