You may think of misdemeanors in the abstract as minor infractions that will, at worst, result in judicial “slaps on the wrist.” Once you are arrested for a misdemeanor, however, your perspective is likely to change. Dealing with law enforcement and being processed through the judicial system will make you realize that misdemeanors, like felonies, are crimes, and can have serious consequences. Even though misdemeanors carry lighter punishments than felonies, they do remain on your criminal record for life, showing up on background checks for employment, educational admissions, bank loans, and licensing applications. No matter what punishment is meted out, your reputation in the community and your relationships with those close to you may suffer after a misdemeanor conviction. Don’t go at it alone, contact a strong criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Charged with a Misdemeanor in North Carolina?– Call Hancock
The best thing you can do when faced with a misdemeanor charge is to be proactive — call Hancock Law Firm, a well-respected criminal defense practice located in Carteret County. In addition to having served thousands of clients in Carteret and surrounding counties with great success, we are known for giving personal attention to each client. Call to schedule a free, confidential consultation. You will find our lead attorney, Joel Hancock, friendly, highly skilled, compassionate and, above all, nonjudgmental.
Types of Misdemeanors in North Carolina
At Hancock Law Firm we commonly deal with the following common misdemeanor charges:
- Assault — unlawfully touching another person or threatening to do so
- Theft — petty larceny, such as shoplifting
- Breaking and Entering — illegally entering someone else’s home, business, or car
- Disorderly Conduct — intentionally causing a public disturbance
- Alcohol Crimes –underage drinking, being drunk and disorderly in public, committing an open container violation
- Drug Crimes — possessing or using small quantities of marijuana
- Domestic Violence — involving threats, harassment or unwanted physical touching of a family or household member, roommate or housemate or present or former partner
- Resisting Arrest or Obstructing an Officer — interfering with a working law enforcement official or otherwise getting in the way of law enforcement
- Trespass — entering property owned by another without permission
- Vandalism — deliberately damaging or destroying another person’s property
- Prostitution, Pandering, Solicitation — offering or receiving sexual favors for money, or hiring someone to provide you with sexual gratification
How Misdemeanors are Classified in North Carolina
In North Carolina, misdemeanors are classified according to their perceived severity as follows:
Class A1 Misdemeanors
Class A1 misdemeanors are those designated most severe, carrying maximum penalties. Examples of Class A1 misdemeanor are  assault on a female, child, or disabled individual  assault with a deadly weapon  assault on a government employee and  violating a restraining order. Class A1 misdemeanors can result in a maximum penalty of 150 days in jail and a discretionary fine.
Class 1 Misdemeanors
Class 1 misdemeanors are also considered severe. These include  prostitution  possession of drug paraphernalia  possession of stolen goods  communicating threats  hit and runs with property damage  breaking and entering and  soliciting a prostitute. The maximum penalty for Class 1 misdemeanor is 120 days of active, intermediate or community punishment. The fine is left to the discretion of the court.
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Under the umbrella of Class 2 misdemeanors, the following crimes are included:  simple assault  disorderly conduct  reckless driving and  unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon. The sentence for a Class 2 misdemeanor is 1 to 60 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment, with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Class 3 Misdemeanors
The least serious type of misdemeanors in North Carolina are those in Class 3 which includes the following crimes:  shoplifting (petty larceny)  possession of marijuana (less than 1/2 ounce)  second-degree trespassing and  misuse of the emergency 911 system. The punishment for conviction of a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina is 1 to 20 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment.
Punishments for a Misdemeanor in North Carolina
As mentioned earlier, misdemeanors are considered less serious crimes than felonies and therefore convictions bring lighter penalties. Still, no amount of jail time is pleasant and alternative programs are time-consuming, restrictive, and often humiliating. The three types of misdemeanor punishments in North Carolina are:
- Active: jail time
- Intermediate: supervised probation, drug or other treatment programs,
house arrest and/or electronic monitoring
- Community: involuntary, unpaid work for the community (e.g. road clean-up)
In some cases, misdemeanor punishment is split, meaning that the person convicted serves a short time in jail followed by, for example, a period of community service. Community service may also involve skill-training to assist in rehabilitation and employment.
Levels of Punishment
As is common in the judicial system, there are several layers of categories applied when deciding punishments for misdemeanor charges. The judge will consider the following levels, based on criminal history when deciding penalties for misdemeanor convictions:
- Level I: no prior convictions
- Level II: 1 to 4 prior convictions
- Level III: 5 or more prior convictions
Contact A Carteret County Misdemeanor Lawyer!
You may be completely innocent and your arrest on a misdemeanor charge may be a mistake or a misidentification. Whatever the situation, Hancock Law Firm is here to take your side and to fight fervently to get your case dismissed or win you an acquittal. Joel Hancock is such a skilled negotiator and litigator who will fight for you to keep your punishment as light as possible and your reputation intact.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, he will be supportive and treat you with the respect you deserve. You may feel that the cards are stacked against you when you are arrested, but once you contact Hancock Law Firm, be assured that we will do everything in our power to level the playing field to protect your freedom and your self-esteem. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!