If you have been charged with a felony in North Carolina it is critical that you seek legal help quickly. Though, according to North Carolina law, felonies are categorized at varying degrees of severity, known legally as “classes,” even if you have been accused of committing a Class I felony (the least severe), dealing with the criminal justice system is not a do-it-yourself project.
Being convicted of a felony is a life-altering experience that will affect your privacy, your reputation, your freedom, your educational and employment opportunities, your civil rights (e.g the right to vote, the right to own a gun), and even your personal relationships. If you live in or around Carteret County, calling Hancock Law Firm may be one of the most important calls you ever make. There is no need to hesitate since your initial consultation will be free, and of course entirely confidential.
How Our Felony Defense Attorney Can Help
Our lead criminal defense attorney, Joel Hancock, is both experienced and talented, with a history of winning successful outcomes for his clients. He knows how high the stakes are and is firmly committed to fighting for your future with all of his strength. Call Hancock Law as soon as you can since having legal representation will give you an immediate advantage. We will defend you from a broad range of felony charges, including:
- Felony Assaults — for an assault to be charged as a felony, it either involves the use of a deadly weapon, serious injury or intent to kill, or strangulation
- Drug Trafficking — this charge involves the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, possession, transportation, and/or distribution of an illegal substance; in order to be characterized as “trafficking” a quantity above a particular weight must be involved
- Sex Offenses — forced sexual activity on an unconsenting victim, including inappropriate touching, kissing, penetration, and child sexual abuse
- Gun Crimes — carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or possessing a gun if you are a convicted felon
- Burglary — entering or remaining in a dwelling, structure or vehicle with the intent to commit a criminal offense, typically theft
- Arson — malicious intentional burning of a structure belonging to another person
- Homicide/Murder — intentionally killing another person is a felony, but it is a lesser offense if it is not premeditated, or if the defendant intended to inflict injury but not to kill; felony murder does not mean that you intentionally killed someone but rather that the individual was killed during your commission of a felony
- Robbery — taking property from another person through force or threat of force
Laws You Should Know About Pertaining to Felonies in North Carolina
There are two special laws you should be aware of if you’re arrested for a felony. One is North Carolina’s Habitual Felon Law, sometimes referred to as a “three strikes” law. This law applies to offenders who have been convicted of three felonies in North Carolina. After the third conviction, new felony charges for the defendant can result in a separate indictment for “Habitual Felon” with more severe punishment (in many cases four classes above the offense for which he/she was arrested).
The other law is known as G.S. 90-96 and pertains to a conditional discharge for certain first-time drug offenders. G.S. 90-96 basically allows a defendant a second chance if he/she has been convicted of a minor drug charge for the first time. The defendant will only be punished with probation as long as he/she adheres strictly to the rules of probation — which may include entering a drug treatment program and remaining sober. If the defendant violates probation, the case can be re-adjudicated and other punishments administered. If the defendant complies with probation, the original charges are dismissed.
Other Information You Should Know About Felonies
In North Carolina, every felony offense has a range of imprisonment penalties to which you can be sentenced if found guilty. Apart from the class of the offense, in most cases, the harshness of your punishment will be affected by the details of your criminal record (if any). The exception to this is that if you are convicted of a Class A felony you will be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. Not all felonies have such drastic consequences. A conviction for a Class I felony, for example, may mean a sentence of only 3 to 13 months.
There are also some felonies, beyond those that fall under the G.S. 90-96 law, for which the defendant, even if convicted, may not serve an active prison sentence, but will be placed on probation or be assigned community service.
The broad spectrum of penalties is known as the dispositional range and will depend not only on the level of the offense and criminal history of the defendant but on any aggravating or mitigating factors. The standard sentence for a felony conviction is known as being in the presumptive range. If the defendant has behaved in an especially cruel or horrible way, or if the victim was a child, elderly or disabled person, the crime will be assessed as in the aggravated range and the sentence will be harsher. On the other hand, if there are factors that make the crime more understandable by the court, the crime will be considered to be in the mitigated range and the punishment will be lessened.
It is also important to note that North Carolina is one of the few states that does not have a Statute of Limitations for felony offenses, meaning that just because a certain amount of time has passed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still be arrested for committing a felony.
Contact Our Carteret County Felony Attorney
If all of the above sounds complicated, that’s because it is. You should never take an arrest for a felony lightly, even if you are accused of a lower level offense. Joel Hancock will provide you with aggressive criminal defense built on a sturdy legal foundation. He is dedicated and responsive and you can count on him to examine all law enforcement evidence with great care, interview any witnesses and speak to the victim so that he has a firm grip on your case. This will enable him to work out the best possible strategy for your defense. He will work tirelessly to get your case dismissed or to win a not guilty verdict at trial. In cases where this is impossible, he will negotiate strenuously to obtain a palatable plea bargain and to get you the mildest possible sentence. At Hancock Law Firm you will always be presumed innocent and always treated with respect. Contact us for a FREE consultation!