Criminal Sentencing in North Carolina

In Criminal by GWAO

Sentencing is the first, middle and end of all criminal cases. Defendants want to know what punishment they face, then what can be done to change it, and finally, what’s the reality.

Although the charts are different for misdemeanors and felonies, the steps to consider are the same.

First, determine what offense class the crime falls under.

Second, determine the prior record level of the offender.

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Each prior conviction is worth a specific number of points.

  • Class A felony convictions: 10 points
  • Class B1 felony convictions: 9 points
  • Class B2, C, or D felony convictions: 6 points
  • Class E, F, or G felony convictions: 4 points
  • Class H or I felony convictions: 2 points
  • Class A1-1 Misdemeanor convictions: 1 points
  • Add 1 point if the defendant is on probation, parole, or post-release supervision at the time of the new offense, and / or if all of the elements of the current offense are the same as in a prior offense. Count only the highest level prior conviction from the relevant court session.
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Points are used to calculate record levels as follows:

  • Level 1: 0 to 1 Point
  • Level 2: 2 to 5 Point
  • Level 3: 6 to 9 Point
  • Level 4: 10 to 13 Point
  • Level 5: 14 to 17 Point
  • Level 6: 18 or More Points

Third, determine any potential sentencing enhancements, such as habitual status, and if any mitigating or aggravating factors may be applied.

Fourth, determine the sentence minimum and maximums.

There are three different disposition ranges for sentence minimum and maximums, the mitigated range, the presumptive range, and the aggravated range. Unless mitigated or aggravated factors are found, then the standard sentence is in the presumptive range.

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Fifth, determine the potential disposition, active or probationary.

Sixth, determine any additional issues and unintended consequences.