Violent Habitual Felon Status in North Carolina – North Carolina criminal law has many intricacies that may apply to certain criminal charges and certain criminal cases.  One of the reasons for this is because there is more to the case than what is charged and what is alleged. Something that does not often get mentioned is how prior criminal convictions can affect current criminal charges. This not only includes the potential sentence for the underlying charged, but it also affects the severity of the charge, and may lead to additional charges.

One example of this is when a status offense applies to a defendant. One such status offense is Violent Habitual Felon. In this blog, we will discuss Violent Habitual Felon status, the law that applies to it and the consequences one may face when the prosecution initiates it. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

How prior convictions generally affect criminal sentencing

In North Carolina state courts, generally, criminal convictions are punished using the Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines and the Felony Sentencing Guidelines.  There are some exceptions that apply such as DWI Sentencing, sentencing for drug trafficking, and other situations. Generally, these guidelines are based on what the current charge is in relation to the prior criminal convictions of the defendant. Simply put, the more times a defendant has been convicted of a crime, the more trouble he or she potentially faces for the current conviction.

Status offenses in relation to prior criminal convictions

Certain prior convictions can lead to status designations that enhance punishment for future crimes over and above what the guidelines would typically impose. Factors include the nature of the crime and the number of convictions of certain types of crimes. Examples of this include but are not limited to Habitual Felon, Habitual Breaking and Entering, and Violent Habitual Felon.

Consequences of the Violent Habitual Felon designation

A Violent Habitual Felon status can be brought against a defendant who has two previous violent felony convictions. Typically, any felony between Classes A and E are considered violent felonies for the purposes of the law. These prior convictions can either be from any state or federal court in the United States, and not just prior North Carolina convictions.

North Carolina General Statute 14-7.12 provides that the minimum sentence for someone who is convicted of a violent felony while under the Violent Habitual Felon designation is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Criminal charges can be complicated and stressful. If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, seek professional help.

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