In North Carolina, a misdemeanor is any crime that carries with it a jail sentence less than a year. North Carolina divides misdemeanors into four classes: class A1, class 1, class 2, and class 3. Class A1 misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors and carry the longest possible jail sentence (up to 150 days in jail). Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious. Someone convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor can be sentenced up to 20 days in jail.
The chart below is called the Misdemeanor Punishment Chart for misdemeanors that occurred after December 1, 2013. This is what the judge uses to decide what your punishment will be if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor. Driving While Impaired charges, while technically misdemeanors, use a completely different punishment chart – see the DWI page on this website.
So as you can see in the chart above, someone convicted of a class A1 misdemeanor who has five or more prior convictions can be sentenced by a judge to serve anywhere from 1 to 150 days in jail. On the other hand, the same person can be given a 150 day sentence but have all or part of it suspended by the judge on the condition that they be placed on probation.
In addition to the punishments described in this chart the law also says that the sentence for someone convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor who has no more than three convictions cannot be more than a fine of $200.
In order to convict you of a misdemeanor and have the judge put you in jail, the prosecutor must prove certain allegations in court before a judge and jury. With the right lawyer on your side it can be very difficult for the prosecutor to prove its case against you.
As a former prosecutor who actually prosecuted people for misdemeanor charges Mr. Roughton knows full well how to attack and defeat them in court. Mr. Roughton knows what law enforcement has to do to prove their case against you and what defenses there may exist to win your case.
Besides fighting misdemeanor charges in court there are also ways to have your case possibly dismissed through a first offender program or substance abuse treatment programs. While fighting your charge is always the best course of action it may be worthwhile to consider these kinds of programs if it means your charge will be dismissed.
Mr. Roughton is available to speak with you any day, night, weekend, or holiday about your misdemeanor charges. His office number is (919) 908-0230.