While not as serious as a felony charge, a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina does carry some significant weight and a conviction could mean supervised probation, high court fines, and even an active jail sentence. Let the seasoned and skilled attorneys at LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC handle your misdemeanor case in Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys are in court every day and have vast experience in handling misdemeanors in North Carolina.
Misdemeanor Classes and Sentencing in North Carolina
Misdemeanors in North Carolina are divided into four different classifications based on severity. The most serious misdemeanors are Class A1.
Class A1 misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 150 days in jail along with a fine (the Judge gets to decide how much).
Class 1 misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 120 days in jail with a fine (the Judge gets to decide how much).
Class 2 misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and up to a $1000.00 fine.
Class 3 misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 20 days in jail and up to a $200.00 fine. However, “unless otherwise provided for a specific offense, the judgment for a person convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor who has no more than three prior convictions shall consist only of a fine.” NCGS § 15A-1340.23(d) A more friendly grid representation is available here.
A misdemeanor conviction in North Carolina can also carry a suspended sentence with supervised or unsupervised probation. Supervised probation requires the assignment of a probation officer and can expose the probationer to things like warrantless searches, drug tests, warrantless searches of the probationer’s home, restrictions on leaving the State, and more.
Misdemeanors in North Carolina
Misdemeanors vary in their scope and some misdemeanor charges are just lesser versions of larger felonies. While not a complete list, here are some examples of the most commonly charged misdemeanors in our State.
- DWI (Driving While Impaired)
- Misdemeanor Sex Crimes (prostitution, sexual battery, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Assault (Assault on a Female, Simple Assault, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Drug Crimes (possession of marijuana up to one and a half oz, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Probation Violations
- Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges (violation of a protective order)
- Misdemeanor Traffic Charges (Driving While License Revoked, Careless and Reckless, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Theft Charges (shoplifting, larceny, etc.)
- Misdemeanor Weapons Crimes (carry concealed without a permit, weapons on certain State property and in Courthouses, etc.)
- Misdemeanor White Collar Crimes (financial transaction card theft, blackmail, etc.)
North Carolina Misdemeanors and Bench Trials versus Jury Trials
In North Carolina a misdemeanor is tried in the District Court Division of Criminal Court. District Court trials are decided from the bench by a District Court Judge and not a jury. However, if you are unhappy with the outcome of your District Court bench trial and wish to have your case proceed to a jury, you may appeal the decision of the District Court within ten days of your bench trial to Superior Court and have a de novo jury trial in Superior Court.
Hire an experienced North Carolina Misdemeanor Attorney
At LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC, our attorneys are well aware of the consequences a misdemeanor conviction can have on your life. Our lawyers are trial lawyers that fight. We have a passion for justice and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your misdemeanor charges in North Carolina.