Felonies and Misdemeanors
Raleigh Felony / Misdemeanor Defense Lawyers
A felony is a more serious offense than a misdemeanor under North Carolina law. That’s why the punishment for a felony is more severe. While a high-level misdemeanor can result in a $1,000 maximum fine and up to five months in jail, even a low-level felony can carry a fine of several thousand dollars and many years in prison.
At The Coolidge Law Firm, our Raleigh criminal defense attorneys treat every case with equal gravity, whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor. We know the case is important to our clients and their families, and we are determined to use all of our experience and resources to deliver the best possible outcome.
If you have been arrested or charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Wendell, or anywhere else in Wake County, contact The Coolidge Law Firm today for a free consultation by calling (919) 239-8448 or (919) 605-9000 or using the firm’s online form.
North Carolina Criminal Sentencing
Whether you are charged with an attempt or complete act, being the principal or an accomplice, you could face a prison sentence under the North Carolina Structured Sentencing Guidelines. For sentencing, the District Court or Superior Court judge will:
- Determine the class of your offense;
- Calculate your prior record level based on your prior convictions (if any);
- Consider any aggravating or mitigating factors that apply to your case; and
- Sentence you in the mitigated, presumptive or aggravated range (Felony only)
Depending on where you fall in the sentencing grid, you could face active (prison), intermediate (supervised probation with an active component) or community punishment (supervised or unsupervised probation). You may also have to pay restitution, court fines and other costs. If your case involves drug trafficking or driving while intoxicated (DWI), a different range of punishments will apply.
North Carolina Felonies
A North Carolina felony ranges from Class A (the most serious) to Class I (least serious). Most felonies will be resolved in Superior Court by a plea bargain or jury trial. Some lower level felonies (Class H and I) can be resolved in District Court and may be eligible for a deferral program that allows a complete dismissal of all charges upon completion.
Common felony charges include:
- Violent crimes: Murder, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, hit and run property damage and carrying a concealed weapon;
- Sex crimes: Rape, statutory rape, sexual offense, sexual assault, indecent liberties with a child, and child pornography;
- Drug crimes: Sale, delivery, manufacture, or trafficking of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin; and
- Theft / property crimes: Larceny, robbery, armed robbery, embezzlement, burglary, breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, welfare fraud, and financial card fraud.
Any felony conviction can have long-term consequences. For instance, if you are convicted of three felonies, you may be indicted as a habitual felon. This elevates your third felony to Class C status and carries a minimum 44-month sentence. If convicted of a sex offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender and wear a GPS device that tracks your every movement.
North Carolina Misdemeanors
Unlike felonies, there are only four classes of North Carolina misdemeanor offenses. They range from Class A1 (most serious) to Class 3 (least serious). Misdemeanors are usually resolved in District Court, although you have the right to appeal to Superior Court.
Common misdemeanor charges include:
- Violent crimes: Simple assault, assault on a female, stalking, cyberstalking, communicating threats, harassing phone calls, resisting an officer, false imprisonment and violation of a Chapter 50B domestic violence protective order;
- Sex crimes: Sexual Battery, indecent exposure, peeping and solicitation for prostitution;
- Drug crimes: Certain drug possession and drug paraphernalia offenses (depending on quantity), such as possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana or a marijuana pipe;
- Theft / property crimes: Shoplifting, forgery, writing worthless checks, failure to return rental property, gambling and scalping tickets, trespassing, injury to personal property or real property and unlawful assembly;
- Driving crimes: Driving while license revoked, failure to stop for a school bus, reckless driving, racing, and driving with an open container of alcohol
Just as repeated felony convictions can result in a higher sentence, habitual misdemeanor offenders can face stiffer penalties.
Our Aggressive Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You
When you are arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, you have rights. The Coolidge Law Firm will fight hard to protect those rights. We will investigate your case to determine whether your rights were violated by police or prosecutors, and we will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case against you.
Depending on the facts, we may be able to resolve your case in one of several ways, including:
- Deferred prosecution;
- Prayer for judgment continued (PJC);
- Plea bargain to a lesser offense;
- Not guilty verdict in a bench or jury trial.
Even if you are convicted, we will aggressively put on evidence of mitigating factors, such as your gainful employment or support of your family. We will push for the most lenient sentence possible, including probation and community service. Along the way, we’ll make sure to advise you of your potential options.
The Coolidge Law Firm also handles expungement cases, which can erase certain criminal charges from your record, and we handle motions for appropriate relief, which can gain you a new trial in some cases if you have been previously convicted.
Contact Us Today
Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Wendell, or anywhere else in Wake County, our criminal defense lawyers are just a phone call or a click away. For a free consultation, call us today at (919) 239-8448 or use our online form.
The Coolidge Law Firm is here to fight for you.