Sentencing for a North Carolina Felony
When you face charges for a North Carolina felony, few things are as important as getting a good criminal defense lawyer to prepare your case. This lawyer helps you understand your charges and builds a strategy to fight them. But to even meet with a lawyer as needed and start a productive plan for your defense, it is best that you get out of jail. That usually means talking to a bail bondsman to make these arrangements and help you afford your bond.
Once you get back home, it is time to concentrate on doing everything the court expects. This includes showing up at every hearing and respecting the law in everything you do. If you keep your nose clean and play by the rules, your lawyer may help you stay out of jail for good.
What Kind of Sentence to Expect for a North Carolina Felony
A sentencing grid specifies the punishments and terms for a North Carolina felony. When you bond out of jail or prepare for this first hearing, your criminal defense lawyer helps you understand your potential sentencing, should you receive a guilty verdict at trial. Multiple factors relate to the judgment you receive, including the felony class and your criminal history.
Overall, there are 10 different classifications for North Carolina felony sentences. These range from Class A to Class I. Class A charges carry the heaviest penalties for very serious crimes like murder. The less serious crimes receive punishment according to lower classes on the sale, such as Class I credit card fraud or domestic violence. But no matter whether your crime is a Class A or a Class I, you can expect the state to take your charges very seriously.
North Carolina felony sentencing for each classification includes prison sentences according to the following scale:
- Life without parole or the death penalty for Class A
- 144 months in prison to life without parole for Class B1
- 94 to 393 months for Class B2
- 44 to 182 months for Class C
- 38 to 160 months for Class D
- 15 to 63 months for Class E
- 10 to 41 months for Class F
- Eight to 31 months for Class G
- Four to 25 months for Class H
- Three to 12 months for Class I
How the Court Determines Your Sentence
For crimes in classifications B1 to I, the court first must know your prior record level before determining your sentencing. A point system for your prior convictions calculates your prior record level. These levels range from Level I to Level VI with Level VI being most serious.
Your criminal history of past convictions therefore affect sentencing for your North Carolina felony.
Points for each past criminal conviction on your record include:
- 10 points for Class A
- Nine points for Class B1
- Six points for Class B2, C and D
- Four points for Class E, F and G
- Two points for Class H and I
- One point for each misdemeanor conviction
Your prior record level equals the total sum of your calculated conviction points.
Criminal sentencing levels for your North Carolina felony include:
- I for zero to one point
- II for two to five points
- III for six to nine points
- IV for 10 to 13 points
- V for 14 to 17 points
- VI for 18 or more points
Presumptive, Aggravated and Mitigated Charges and Your North Carolina Felony Sentence
As you can see from the above information, each North Carolina felony carries its own sentence. These sentences range in severity and carry their own possible prison terms, based on the type of crime. Using your past criminal history, the court determines your sentencing level on a point system, also a factor in how much time you serve behind bars.
The next step is determining your disposition range. By this point in the sentencing considerations, you can see that the court takes sentencing very seriously and works to ensure the fairness of the process. The disposition range varies according to your prior record level, felony classification and any mitigating or aggravating factors in your crime.
Disposition ranges for your felony charge includes:
- Presumptive – Standard sentencing without any aggravating or mitigating factors
- Aggravating – Factors related to atrocity or cruelty in your crime, such as age of the victim or being paid to commit the crime
- Mitigating – Factors related to your background that indicate your sentencing could fall on the lighter end of the scale, such as you taking responsibility for your actions and the crime
As an example, if you committed a Class C felony in North Carolina and you have a prior criminal history of Level III, the court considers your crime’s presumptive, aggravating and mitigating factors.
Your potential sentencing will then appear similar to the following scale:
- Presumptive: 77 to 96 months in prison
- Aggravated: 96 to 120 months in prison
- Mitigated: 58 to 77 months in prison
If you commit a Class C felony or any other crime, the above scales show you the importance of your criminal defense strategy in your sentencing outcome. This also shows why it is so important that you bail out of jail and work with your lawyer on your criminal defense. After all, the difference between 58 months and 96 months feels like a lifetime behind bars.
Of course, while out on bail you can also work with your lawyer to gain a “not guilty” verdict. This is ideal for overcoming your past and working toward a better future.
Your First Step in Fighting North Carolina Felony Charges
Your very first step in fighting your North Carolina felony charges is bailing out of jail. When the court allows you to do so, a NC bail bondsman provides the financial help you need. In Chatham, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Wake and Lee counties in North Carolina, call DJ’s Bail Bonds for help. We provide you or your loved ones with the support and answers you need to get out of jail 24/7 and 365 days per year. Call us at 919-986-1547.