FELONY SENTENCING IN NORTH CAROLINA
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:
- split sentence: includes both active time spent in jail followed by supervised probation
- 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
- intensive supervision: daily monitoring
- residential center: a supervised program that requires overnight stays at a facility
- day reporting center: highly supervised day and evening program
- 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
|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.