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 offenses that fall within this class of misdemeanors 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 offense that fall within Class 2 include
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Disorderly Conduct or Intoxicated & Disruptive Behavior
- Resisting/Obstructing/Delaying a Law Enforcement Officer
- Reckless Driving
- Simple Assault
- Mutual Affray
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 offenses included in this class of misdemeanors 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
- Sexual Battery
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Law Robbery
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Identity Theft
- 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.
- Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury
- Failure to Register as a Convicted Sex Offender
- Habitual Impaired Driving
- Indecent Liberties with Children
- Involuntary Manslaughter
Class E Felony – Class E felonies are punishable by 136 months in prison.
- 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.
- Armed Robbery
- First Degree Burglary
- Voluntary Manslaughter
Class C Felony – Class C felonies can be punished by up to 279 months in prison.
- 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.
- Child Abuse Involving Serious Bodily Injury
- Attempted 1st Degree Murder
Class B1 Felony – The maximum for a B1 felony is life without parole.
- 1st Degree Rape
- 2nd Degree Murder
Class A Felony – The only common 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 Welch and Avery represents clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 665-9134 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.
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