in North Carolina


Misdemeanors in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina General Statutes, crimes are divided into two main categories – felonies and misdemeanors.  Misdemeanors are divided into 4 categories from the most serious to least serious: A1, 1, 2, 3, and infractions.

To determine sentencing, your prior criminal record will be taken into consideration. Depending on what misdemeanor level you are at will be a deciding factor. 

If you have no prior convictions you are a level 1.

If you have 1-4 previous convictions, you are a level 2.

If you have 5 or more previous convictions, you are a level 3.

Misdemeanors do not typically carry hefty jail time, however, being convicted will go on your permanent record and increase your misdemeanor level classification.The higher the level you are, the more time you could spend in jail with increased fines. Hiring an attorney could lessen or even get the charges dismissed. 

 Misdemeanors can not only carry criminal penalties, they can have an effect on future employment, educational opportunities and landlords may reject your rental application. 

Some of the most common misdemeanor crimes include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (DWI/DUI)
  • Violation of 50B restraining order
  • Assault
  • Larceny
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespassing
  • Prostitution
  • Retail theft (shoplifting)
  • Reckless driving
  • Possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia or other illegal substances
  • Indecent exposure

Class A1

(the most serious)

This is the most serious misdemeanor you can be charged with.

Examples: Violation of a 50B restraining order,  assault to a person with disabilities, assault to an unborn child, assault on a female/officer/child under 12 years of age, and assault by pointing a gun.

Sentencing: up to 150 days in jail

Fines: As much as the court deems appropriate.

Class 1

Examples: Larceny, breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, drug paraphernalia, communicating threats, misuse of a 911 system, damage to real or personal property, weapons on State property or in courthouses, and prostitution.

Sentencing: up to 120 days in jail

Fines: As much as the court deems appropriate.

Class 2

Examples: Simple assaults, disorderly conduct, resisting or delaying a public officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and wreckless driving.

Sentencing: up to 60 days in jail

Fines: Up to $1,000

Class 3

Examples: Possession of marijuana (less than ½ oz.), city/county ordinance violations, and/or shoplifting.

Sentencing: Up to 20 days in jail

Fines: Up to $200

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