North Carolina has two categories of crimes — misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are considered “minor” crimes while felonies encompass more serious crimes. Below is a discussion of the classes of crimes and examples of common charges that fall within each class. For more information, contact our criminal defense lawyer to schedule a consultation. When facing a criminal charge, it is always in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. We can protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly and with respect by the judicial system.
Common Misdemeanors by Class
North Carolina classifies misdemeanors into four classes. The circumstances and severity of the crime determine the class. Below are the four classes of misdemeanors in North Carolina and the most common types of misdemeanors committed within each class.
Class 3 Misdemeanor – This is the least serious of the four classes of misdemeanors. The maximum punishment for a conviction of a Class 3 Misdemeanor is twenty days in jail and a $200 fine.
Common Class 3 misdemeanor examples include:
Shoplifting/Concealment of Merchandise
Simple Possession of Marijuana (less than 1/2 ounce)
Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
2nd Degree Trespassing
City and county ordinance violations
Class 2 Misdemeanor – If you are convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor you face a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Common Class 2 misdemeanor examples include:
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Disorderly Conduct or Intoxicated & Disruptive Behavior
Resisting/Obstructing/Delaying a Law Enforcement Officer
Class 1 Misdemeanor – Class 1 misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail. There is no maximum fine, it is in the discretion of the court.
Common Class 1 misdemeanor examples include:
Misdemeanor Larceny and Possession of Stolen Property
Misdemeanor Breaking or Entering
Solicitation of Prostitution
Passing a Stopped School Bus
Communicating a Threat
Hit & Run with Property Damage
Possession of a Schedule II-VI Controlled Substance
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Class A1 Misdemeanor – These are the most serious misdemeanor offenses. The maximum jail time for a conviction of a Class A1 misdemeanor is 150 days. The fine is up to the discretion of the judge. Common offenses classified as a Class 1A misdemeanor include:
Assault on a Female, on a Child, or on a Handicapped Person
Assault Inflicting Serious Injury
Misdemeanor Child Abuse
Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order
Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle
Common Felonies by Class
North Carolina has divided felony charges into 10 classes. Below are the felony classes in North Carolina from the least serious class to the most serious class and the most common types of felonies committed within each class.
Lower Level Felonies
Class I Felony – A Class I felony is punishable by up to 24 months in prison.
Common examples of Class I felonies include:
Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance
Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule III-VI Controlled Substance
Breaking or Entering into a Motor Vehicle
Forgery or Uttering a Forged Document
Class H Felony – Class H felonies are punishable by up to 39 months in prison.
Common examples of Class H felonies include:
Felony Larceny and Possession of Stolen Property
Cruelty to Animals
Obtaining Property by False Pretense
Breaking or Entering into a Building
Embezzlement or Larceny by Employee
Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance
Sale of a Schedule III, IV, V or VI Controlled Substance
Class G Felony – Class G felonies are punishable by a maximum of 47 months in prison.
Common examples of Class G felonies include:
Common Law Robbery
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
Second Degree Burglary
Sale of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance
Class F Felony – Class F felonies can result in a maximum of 59 months in prison.
Common examples of Class F felonies include:
Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury
Failure to Register as a Convicted Sex Offender
Habitual Impaired Driving
Indecent Liberties with Children
Class E Felony – Class E felonies are punishable by 136 months in prison.
Common examples of Class E felonies include:
Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury or with Intent to Kill
2nd Degree Kidnapping
Discharging a Weapon into Occupied Property
Class D Felony – A Class D felony conviction carries the potential for 252 months in prison.
Common examples of Class D felonies include:
First Degree Burglary
Class C Felony – Class C felonies can be punished by up to 279 months in prison.
Common examples of Class C felonies include:
Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury
1st Degree Kidnapping
Manufacture of Methamphetamine
2nd Degree Rape
High Level Felonies
Class B2 Felony – A person convicted of a B2 felony could receive up to 532 months in prison.
Common examples of Class B2 felonies include:
Child Abuse Involving Serious Bodily Injury
Attempted 1st Degree Murder
Class B1 Felony – The maximum for a B1 felony is life without parole.
Common examples of Class B1 felonies include:
1st Degree Rape
2nd Degree Murder
Class A Felony – The only common example of a Class A felony is 1st Degree Murder, which carries the death penalty or life without parole. A Class A felony charge is the most serious felony charge you can face.
Note that certain crimes such as drug trafficking and DWI have their own special systems for determining punishments. DWI is the only crime in North Carolina that is not given a classification (it is a general misdemeanor), and has a maximum punishment of 36 months in prison. Drug trafficking crimes are classified depending on the particular drug and the amount involved and can be subject to up to 282 months in prison.
You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. Punishments are based on the crime of which you are convicted, not what you were accused of at the beginning. Even if you think you are guilty, you may have several defenses, and there are multiple options for handling any sort of criminal case. Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately if arrested. Please do not make a statement to the police until you have consulted with a lawyer. You have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent, we recommend you use both!
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
The criminal defense lawyer of The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm represents clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.