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North Carolina Criminal Lawyer: Felony Laws in North Carolina

Hawk Aavan Jonsson was released from prison 14 years ago, but still feels like he’s paying the price for his past mistakes. In July, he applied for a certificate of rehabilitation to get his record expunged.

What is a Felony?

Felonies are more serious crimes.  Historically, felonies were crimes for which you could be imprisoned more than a year. These days, the North Carolina Legislature will specify whether a crime is a felony or not.  Many crimes may be either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the value of the item in question (in the case of a theft) or the amount of injury or damage caused. If you’re accused of a felony, contact a Raleigh criminal lawyer or Criminal lawyer Raleigh about your case as soon as possible at (919) 352-9411 for a free consultation.

What Kind of Crimes are Felonies?

Violent felonies can be anything from First Degree Murder (the most serious crime in North Carolina) to Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon (Armed Robbery).  Violent felonies also include rapes, sex offenses, violent assaults, attempted murder, manslaughter (a form of killing), burglaries.  Other felonies include such crimes as drug trafficking, possession of drugs with intent to sell and deliver (PWISD), manufacturing of drugs, larceny, embezzlement, and obtaining property by false pretenses and other kinds of thefts, and Breaking & Entering.

In addition, felonies also can include sentencing enhancement laws.  These are laws that punish repeat offenses.  For instance, North Carolina has a habitual felon law (three strikes) which increases the punishment for someone’s fourth (or more) felony conviction.  North Carolina also has a less common violent habitual felon law, which imposes a life sentence for a second violent felony. And North Carolina has a habitual assault law, which punishes multiple assaults more harshly.

A key difference between a felony conviction and a misdemeanor conviction is that a felony conviction will result in the loss of certain citizenship rights, including the right to vote and the right to hold public office. In addition, a person who is a convicted felon may never possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm ever again.  If the person does, the person is liable for up to 10 years in federal prison for mere possession of something as small as a shotgun shell.

Overall, a felony conviction is a much more serious matter. If possible, you should hire a lawyer as quickly as possible if you believe you may be charged with a felony. And under no circumstances should you speak with police about the case without your lawyer present.

What is the Felony Process?

Most felonies begin in District Court in North Carolina. And many felonies end in District Court, either through dismissal, a felony diversion or felony drug diversion program, or a plea agreement. In Wake County, these cases are handled in courtroom 4D.

A felony diversion or felony drug diversion program involves an agreement between the District Attorney and the defendant. The defendant agrees to complete certain kinds of treatment programs, stay out of trouble, pay back restitution (if a theft or property crime), and pay certain program costs. Usually there is a community

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