Felonies

A felony is a more severe offense under North Carolina law. While all criminal accusations should be taken very seriously, felonies have particularly harsh consequences. If found guilty, you will not only face state prison, you’ll also be a convicted felon. That designation has implications under state and federal law. As a convicted felon you could lose state licensing privileges, be expelled from college, lose federal financial aid, or even lose your job.

Felonies have a different criminal procedure than misdemeanors or infractions. Like misdemeanors, felonies originate in District Court. Many felonies can be resolved at the District Court level but if not, your case will be presented to a grand jury and bound over to Superior Court. If facing felony charges, you have many more options if you take action before your first appearance.  A dedicated attorney can help you identify those options, choose the best one and aggressively pursue it. If you or a family member has just been arrested on felony charges, call an attorney immediately.

Raleigh Felony Lawyer

At Coolidge Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing clients on felony charges in the Wake County Justice Center. We are skilled negotiators and experience trial attorneys. who can help you seek a diversion program or reduced charges. We carefully listen to the unique circumstances of our clients’ cases. We will then advise our clients as to whether a negotiated plea or a trial would be in their best interest. We zealously advocate our client’s position to the district attorney’s office and if necessary we prepare to fiercely defend our clients at trial. We never sell our clients short and we are not afraid of the court room.

Contact a Raleigh felony lawyer today so we can begin working on a strategy for your defense. Call us at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Wendell, Rolesville, Knightdale and Fuquay-Varina.


Felony Charge Information


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Definition of Felony and Different Types

North Carolina General Statutes § 14-1 define a felony as a crime that is:

  • A felony at common law, meaning within the English tradition of justice;
  • Is or may be punishable by the death penalty;
  • Is punishable by imprisonment in a State Prison (as opposed to county jail); or
  • Is designated as a felony in the criminal statute defining the offense.

Felonies include:

  • Violent Crime: Assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a law enforcement officer, false imprisonment, kidnapping, or murder.
  • Theft and Property Crimes: Burglary, arson, larceny of goods valued at more than $1,000, or possessing goods knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe the goods were stolen.
  • Drug Offenses: Possession with intent to sell, sale or manufacture of controlled substance, or trafficking.
  • White Collar Crime: Credit card fraud, identity theft, or obtaining property by false pretenses.
  • Sex Offenses: Rape, sexual offense, indecent liberties with children, or child pornography.

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Initial Felony Process in Wake County

The felony process may begin in one of the following ways:

  • Arrest Without Warrant: Police may arrest a suspect for a felony offense without a warrant if they allege either that the suspect committed the offense in the officer’s presence or that the officer had probable cause to believe the offender committed the offense.
  • Grand Jury Indictment: A grand jury is a group of citizens impaneled by a judge to investigate crimes. If the grand jury finds cause to believe a person committed a crime, it will issue an indictment. In some cases, it may issue a presentment, which the district attorney will investigate.
  • Information: An information is presented by the Wake County District Attorney, accusing a person of an offense.

You should contact an attorney as you realize that the police are investigating you for a crime. Ideally, this occurs well before an arrest, warrant or criminal summons. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and what steps you should take to avoid prosecution.

Felonies in North Carolina can be resolved at both the District and Superior Court levels. Upon arrest, you will be taken before a magistrate and an initial bond will be set. If you bond out, you will be instructed that you must appear the very next morning in District Court at 9:00 am. If you cannot bond out, then you will have a first appearance the next afternoon. At the first appearance, a judge will advise your charges, the potential maximum sentence, and your attorney rights.

If possible, you should have an attorney representing you at the first appearance. If not, then immediately after that first appearance, arrange to speak with an attorney immediately. Your case may soon be presented to a grand jury and bound over for Superior Court. You want an attorney helping you get the best possible result before this occurs. Often, deferral programs exist that can assist in having your charges dismissed. Do not wait.

However, do not try to negotiate on your own. The district attorney assigned to your case does not have you best interest in mind. The district attorney represents the State of North Carolina and his or her goal is to get a conviction. At Coolidge Law Firm, we are experienced in negotiating with prosecutors to seek reductions and deferral deals.


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Habitual Felon Designation and Other Consequences of Conviction

If convicted, the sentence will depend on the classification of the felony. The state has sentencing guidelines that divide felonies into 10 different classes. Class I is the least severe type of felony. A Class I conviction, for a first offense, may result in as little as three months of community punishment, which may include probation, drug and alcohol treatment, community service and fines. Class A felonies include the most heinous crimes  , with life imprisonment or death as a sentence for a first offense.

Prison, probation, community service, and other penalties represent only some of the consequences of a felony conviction. Convicted felons also lose the right to vote until very component of their sentence is completed. And in some states, like Florida, convicted felons never regain the right to vote.
Both state and federal law prohibit a person who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm.

These are the merely the consequences of a single felony. Multiple offenses and felonies have greater penalties. A person’s criminal record plays a major factor in determining his or her sentence.

Upon a person’s third or subsequent felony charge, the district attorney may also charge that person as a habitual felon. If convicted, the person will face the sentence as though the underlying offense was a Class C felony. This level of offense has more than 10 times the level of punishment of a Class I felony.


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Finding the Best Attorney in Wake County for a Felony Charge

A felony conviction has very serious consequences—consequences you may be able to avoid with the advice and representation of skilled legal counsel. Call an experienced Raleigh felony lawyer if you face these serious charges anywhere in Wake County, including Apex, Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs, Garner, Zebulon, and Morrisville. Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 to set up a free consultation.

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