When most people think of felonies, their minds automatically go to violent crimes such as murder or assault. While those crimes certainly do happen, most felony crimes in North Carolina are actually not violent at all.
A good example of this is a case out of Whiteville, NC. Two people were arrested for felony possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. Non-violent felonies such as this are the most common offenses found in North Carolina.
In fact, would you believe that, according to the UNC School of Government, in 2019 violent crimes only made up a little over 16 percent of felony charges? It’s true. The rest, roughly 83 percent, of felonies charged were non-violent crimes.
That begs the question: What is a non-violent crime and what are some of the most common? Here’s what you need to know about non-violent felonies in North Carolina and the penalties that can result if you are found guilty.
What Are Non-Violent Felonies?
Non-violent felonies are crimes that, well, don’t involve violence. They don’t result in the injury of another person or the threat or use of force.
Most of the time, non-violent felonies are those related to property damage, financial crimes, or drug and alcohol crimes. Some of the most commonly charged non-violent felonies in North Carolina are:
- Felony breaking and entering
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Identity theft
- Motor vehicle breaking and entering
- Felony theft
- Possession of cocaine
- Possession of a stolen motor vehicle
- Acquiring property by false claims
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted offender
NC Penalties for Non-Violent Felonies
The penalty for a non-violent felony depends on a few factors. First is the felony itself. Some felonies are considered more serious under the law.
For example, larceny is a Class H non-violent felony, which is punishable by as many and 25 months in prison. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a Class G felony, which is punishable by as many as 47 months in prison.
On the other end of the spectrum, drug trafficking of 10,000 pounds or more is a Class D felony that can carry a sentence of more than a decade behind bars.
After considering the felony crime itself, a judge will then take into account any criminal history when sentencing for a crime, even a non-violent one.
Sentencing for North Carolina Non-Violent Felony Convictions
It’s also important to note that in North Carolina if you are convicted of multiple crimes stemming from the same incident, whether they’re non-violent felonies or not, your sentences can be served either concurrently or consecutively.
A concurrent sentence is a sentence that is served at the same time as the other sentences while consecutive sentencing means that you must complete each sentence by itself.
The judge decides how a sentence is to be served, but sometimes a defendant must service their sentences consecutively.
This is often the case for those that are previous offenders or those that have aggravating factors, such as the targeting of a vulnerable population for a crime, which will force the judge to sentence the defendant to consecutive sentences for their crimes.
Simply because a crime is considered non-violent doesn’t mean there won’t be serious consequences. If you find yourself charged with a common non-violent crime, ensure you understand the charges against you and what they could mean if you are found guilty so that you can bring the best defense possible in court.