Crimes in North Carolina are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. While a felony conviction is certainly more serious, you should take the prospect of any sort of criminal conviction seriously. Many misdemeanors and most felonies carry the possibility of jail time, even for a first offender. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you regardless how minor the criminal charge may be or regardless of whether you have a prior conviction.
Misdemeanors in North Carolina
Misdemeanor convictions can trigger a fairly wide range of possible punishments. For the most minor offenses, sentences may only consist of a monetary penalty (payment of fines and court costs), while more significant cases can result in probation or imprisonment. A lot will also depend on the extent of your prior criminal record. Simply put, having a longer criminal record will result in a stiffer sentence.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the court will determine your prior record level and then impose a sentence that falls within the range allowed for the class of misdemeanor involved. If you had your charges reduced in some way, only the class of the crime convicted matters, not what you were originally charged with. For a more in-depth discussion of sentencing, take a look at our previous blog post on this topic here. Of course, regardless of the specific punishment imposed, a criminal conviction will stay on your record permanently and can cause significant problems down the road.
Hundreds of misdemeanors are contained in the North Carolina criminal statutes. Your best chance of avoiding a conviction or minimizing punishment is to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest.
Penalties for North Carolina Misdemeanors with a Prior Conviction
Misdemeanor charges are divided into four classifications for sentencing. Judges use a misdemeanor punishment chart to sentence defendants convicted of a misdemeanor. Penalties for a misdemeanor conviction include active punishment (i.e. jail time), intermediate punishment (i.e. mandatory treatment plans, house arrest, electronic monitoring, etc.) and community punishment (i.e. community service and probation). A prior conviction increases the number of days on your sentence.
Penalties for misdemeanor convictions in North Carolina are:
Class A1 Misdemeanor
No prior convictions: C/I/A* of 1 to 60 days
1 to 4 prior convictions: C/I/A of 1 to 75 days
5 or more prior convictions: C/I/A of 1 to 150 days
Class 1 Misdemeanor
No prior convictions: Community punishment of 1 to 45 days
1 to 4 prior convictions: C/I/A of 1 to 45 days
5 or more prior convictions: C/I/A 1 to 120 days
Class 2 Misdemeanor
No prior convictions: Community punishment of 1 to 30 days
1 to 4 prior convictions: C/I of 1 to 45 days
5 or more prior convictions: C/I/A 1 to 60 days
Class 3 Misdemeanor
No prior convictions: Fine only unless the specific law states otherwise then 1 to 10 days of community punishment
1 to 3 prior convictions: Fine only unless the specific law states otherwise then 1 to 15 days of community punishment
4 prior convictions: C/I of 1 to 15 days
5 or more prior convictions: C/I/A 1 to 20 days
*This indicates that the judge has the sole discretion whether to sentence the defendant to community punishment, intermediate punishment, or active punishment.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
The criminal defense lawyers of The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm have extensive experience representing individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor in North Carolina. We understand how a prior conviction can affect your sentence and we work diligently to minimize the impact of a prior conviction in your current case. A strong legal defense is vital to obtaining a positive outcome; therefore, contacting our office as soon as possible gives us more time to develop that defense strategy and to protect your legal rights.
We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459or contact us online today for a free case evaluation