Misdemeanor Guide

North Carolina Misdemeanor

North Carolina Court Systems
North Carolina stipulates that criminal offenses are categorized into misdemeanors and felonies. Whether a crime is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony is up to the discretion of the court. Some traffic offenses are classified as misdemeanors, while the more severe traffic offenses -- like those involving the injury or death of another driver -- constitute felonies.

Common misdemeanors include simple assault, trespassing, bad checks, possession of marijuana, and carrying a concealed weapon illegally. Misdemeanor charges are handled most often by the criminal district court. Those being charges for misdemeanors have only two options: plead not guilty and be tried by a district court judge or plead guilty and most often be tried in front of a jury. Pleading guilty can often lessen a charge than if an individual pleads not guilty and is found guilty by the court.

North Carolina Misdemeanor Classifications
North Carolina misdemeanors are placed in four different classes that range from high to low in the gravity of the crime or crimes. These classes include Class 1A Misdemeanors, Class 1 Misdemeanors, Class 2 Misdemeanors, and Class 3 Misdemeanors. Class 1A misdemeanors hold the highest amount of punishments while Class 3 Misdemeanors hold the lowest amount of punishments.

The punishments within these classes are set on a calculated value based on the prior record of the accused. The higher the class of conviction, the higher the punishment, and the more points received. The higher number of offenses, the higher the punishment, and the more points received. The system is almost solely based on the number of points and prior records of the accused.

In this system if an individual has no past criminal convictions and pleads guilty to a Class 3 Misdemeanor crime, he or she will most likely receive probation rather than a fine or a jail sentence.

Criminal Defense Attorneys
Because the North Carolina criminal offense system is a little complicated, it is advisable to consult a criminal defense attorney. He or she will be able to determine which misdemeanor is at hand, which punishments may be received, what is the best defense to take, and whether or not to plead guilty or not guilty.

North Carolina Misdemeanor Expungement
Because most training programs, licensing agencies, and employment services run criminal background checks on future participants, many choose to apply for misdemeanor expungement. Expungement erases the record of an arrest or a proposed conviction. This allows an individual to legally state that he or she was never arrested for or convicted of a crime.

Misdemeanor Expungement Eligibility
Only two kinds of individuals are eligible for expungement. Any person who was convicted of a misdemeanor while under the age of eighteen will have the option of apply for misdemeanor expungement. Traffic violations do not count in the cleaning of an offense in the case of a juvenile record.

The second section that are available for expungement are those who were arrested and charged with a crime but the criminal charges were later dismissed or the individual was found not guilty of the charges. Those that have been charged and have served sentences for criminal offenses are most often not eligible for expungement.

See also:
North Carolina Felony External link (opens in new window)
North Carolina Expungement External link (opens in new window)
North Carolina Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)