As in most states, and in Federal Court, criminal charges in North Carolina fall into two distinct categories - misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are more serious with more punitive consequences than misdemeanors.
In our current legal system, a felony is generally considered to be a crime of "high seriousness", while a misdemeanor is not. The term felony is believed to origin in the late 13th century common law, in Anglo-French, from Old French "felonie" which meant wickedness, evil, treachery, perfidy, crime, cruelty, sin. In North Carolina, felonies are divided into classes ranging from the most serious Class A to the least serious Class I, all of which are punishable by more than a year in prison. The most serious Class of felony - Class A - carries a maximum sentence of death or life without parole.
The prior record level which ranges from 1 for defendants with 0 points to the most serious record level 6 for defendants with 19 or more points determines which range of sentences is applicable, and the amount of points is determined by the defendant’s prior convictions.
There are many additional conditions a judge can impose on a defendant within the structured sentencing system in addition to probation and prison. Also, there is a range of punishment within each class under each record level for the judge depending on the existence of specific mitigating or aggravating factors.
Many things can be done to either help or hurt your particular case if you are charged with a felony. An experienced attorney can help you minimize the detrimental effects you will ultimately experience due to being charged with a felony. If charged with a felony, you should immediately contact an attorney and not discuss your case with anybody else until or unless your attorney tells you that you may.
Collins Law Firm is experienced in representing people charged with felonies and we can be reached at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation about your particular situation.
Below is a sentencing chart for Felonies in North Carolina:
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Felonies and Misdemeanors