Felony Sentencing in North Carolina

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Blog Posts, Federal Criminal Defense, NC Criminal Defense


Felonies in North Carolina are divided into ten (10) different classes, A (the most serious), B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, I (the least serious). Felonies can be punished by either Community Punishment, Intermediate Punishment, or Active Punishment.

What is the difference between the three types of punishment?
Community, Intermediate, and Active Punishment

Active Punishment is time spent in jail/prison for the duration of the punishment period. Typically cases handled in district court (usually misdemeanors) will serve their active time in a   local jail. Typically, cases that are handled in the superior court  will serve their active time in a state prison.

Intermediate punishment requires that the defendant be put on supervised probation with one or more of the following conditions:

  1. split sentence: includes both active time spent in jail followed by supervised probation
  2. house arrest with electronic monitoring: the confinement to one location for specified hours of the day (such as 6pm-6am) with close supervised computer monitoring
  3. intensive supervision: daily monitoring
  4. residential center: a supervised program that requires overnight stays at a facility
  5. day reporting center: highly supervised day and evening program
  6. drug treatment court: judicially monitored treatment program.

Community Punishment is an alternate form to active time, that requires unsupervised    probation, and allows for the judge to pick the guilty party’s punishment. It can include, fines, restitution, community service, and/or substance abuse treatment.

How is the appropriate punishment determined?

The appropriate punishment can be determined by looking at both the Class and the Prior Conviction Level of the accused. For example, a person who commits a Class D Felony with a Prior Conviction Level of II will receive active punishment (see felony punishment chart below). A point system is used to determine your prior conviction level, for each conviction, points are added to your record. The record levels are as follows:

Level 1: 0-1 points Level 4: 10-13 points
Level 2: 2-5 points Level 5: 14-17 points
Level 3: 6-9 points Level 6: 18+ points



How many points are given for each class of felonies and what are examples of each?

Class A- 10 points·  first-degree murder

·  unlawful use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons of mass destruction with injury to others

Class E- 4 points

·  child abuse- sexual acts, prostitution, or serious injury

·  patient abuse and neglect

·  discharging weapon into occupied property

Class B1- 9 points·  first-degree rape

·  first-degree sexual offenses

·  statutory rape

·  incest with age restrictions and limitations

Class F- 4 points·  involuntary manslaughter

·  domestic abuse, neglect, and exploitation of disabled or elders

·  perjury


Class B2- 6 points·  second-degree murder

·  conspiracy to commit a class A felony

·  conspiracy to commit a class B1 felony



Class G- 4 points·  second-degree arson

·  common law robbery

·  identity theft

·  felony death by vehicle



Class C- 6 points·  habitual felon

·  first-degree kidnapping

·  embezzlement of $100,000 or more

·  trafficking in opium or heroin


Class H- 2 points·  felony possession of stolen goods

·  larceny of property valued more than $1,000

·  hit and run resulting in injury


Class D- 6 points·  voluntary manslaughter

·  first-degree arson

·  armed robbery

·  selling or delivering a controlled substance to minors


Class I- 2 points·  breaking and entering motor vehicles

·  possession of cocaine

·  financial transaction card theft

·  assault on executive, legislative, or court officer



What does the felony sentencing chart mean and how does it work?

In the felony sentencing char below, each bracket has three sets of numbers. The middle set represents the presumptive range which is the average sentence for a crime. The top set is the sentencing range if aggravating factors were present. The most common aggravating factor is being on probation at the time the crime was committed. The bottom set is the sentencing range if there were mitigating factors. Some examples of mitigating factors include: the defendant playing a minor role in the commission of the crime, the defendant has accepted responsibility for the defendant’s criminal conduct, and the defendant is a minor and has reliable supervision available. Each number range represents the starting and ending range for a punishment. For example, a Class C felony committed under aggravating factors and a prior record level of 4, is listed at 110-138 months. The defendant would receive a minimum of 110 months, but a maximum of 178 months in prison. In order to determine the number of months possible the  maximum and minimum chart, show below, is used.


DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

Call Now Button