The North Carolina General Statutes contain two main classes of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor offense has less severe consequences than a felony. However, these offenses can still have significant consequences. People charged with a misdemeanor sometimes show up to the Wake County Justice Center unrepresented, assuming they will be sentenced to a fine and, perhaps, community service. Instead, they never leave and find themselves escorted out of the court room in the custody of a sheriff’s deputy.
Misdemeanors can have serious consequences including jail depending on the facts of the case, the defendant’s criminal record, and the particular moods of the judge and district attorney on a particular day.
No criminal matter is too small to decline skilled representation. A Raleigh misdemeanor defense lawyer can help you avoid the worst consequences, negotiate deals for deferral or reduced charges or have the accusations dropped entirely. At Coolidge Law Firm, we believe every person accused of a crime needs a strong defense strategy. We will be committed to your case, no matter how big or small you think the charges might be.
Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. We represent anyone facing misdemeanor charges in Wake County District Court, including those in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Rolesville, Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville.
A misdemeanor, according to North Carolina General Statutes § 14-1, is any criminal charge not classified as a felony. Misdemeanors do not encompass infractions which represent many of the traffic violations in North Carolina.
Common misdemeanors include:
If an officer alleges to see a person commit an offense, they may arrest them on the spot. Under North Carolina G.S. § 15A-401, if an officer does not claim the suspect committed the offense in their presence, they may only arrest the suspect if they have probable cause to believe the suspect committed a misdemeanor, will not be apprehended unless immediately arrested or will cause injury to himself or others or damage to property unless arrested.
An officer may issue a citation for a misdemeanor allegation. The citation will state the alleged offense and give a date that the accused must appear in court. If the person ignores the citation and skips the court date, the court will issue a warrant for his or her arrest.
Misdemeanors are classified into four different groups in North Carolina law: Class 3, Class 2, Class 1 and Class A1. Severity depends, in part, on the classification. Class 3 is the least severe, and Class A1 the most. The sentence for a misdemeanor will also depend on the defendant’s conviction record and any agreements that can be negotiated with the district attorney’s office.
For any misdemeanor offense, the court has the discretion of sentencing a person to community punishment. Community punishment includes probation, fines, restitution, outpatient drug or alcohol treatment and community service.
For a misdemeanor that is a second or subsequent offense or any Class A1 charge, the court can sentence a person to intermediate punishment. This can include a “split sentence,” in which the defendant serves part of his or her sentence in jail and part on probation, a residential program or “half-way house,” house arrest with electronic monitoring, daily reporting or Drug Treatment Court.
For a fifth or more subsequent misdemeanor conviction, for a second or more Class 1 misdemeanor conviction or any Class A1 misdemeanor, the Court has the option of sending a defendant to jail, also called “active punishment.”
Some offenses have specific consequences in addition to the standard punishments available to the judge during sentencing. For instance, DWI, DWLR and other offenses involving driving may result in your license being suspended.
Courts can sometimes be understanding that a misdemeanor constitutes a minor mistake, and may be willing to accept plea bargains. In some cases, you may be able to defer prosecution and avoid a criminal record.
You should have an attorney to assist you with negotiating with the prosecutors. Always remember that the prosecutor’s sole job is conviction. If in the course of seeking a deal, you admit to any sort of crime, the prosecutor can use that against you after refusing the deal. We can negotiate for your without any risk of exposing you to criminal liability and most importantly, we know the prosecutors at the Wake County Justice Center.
Of course, it is also an option to fight the charges. Prosecutors must prove every element of a misdemeanor offense, like any other criminal charge. We will do our due diligence to investigate your charges and challenge every piece of evidence we can to seek a complete acquittal or dismissal of your case.
Facing misdemeanor charges in Wake County? Do not hesitate. Do not take these matters lightly. Call us NOW! As Raleigh misdemeanor lawyers, we give every client the attention they deserve, no matter how big or small their charge. We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, Garner, Wendell and Zebulon. Call us today at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation.