North Carolina criminal law recognizes several habitual offenses. This means that if you have previous convictions for a certain type of crime and are subsequently charged with the same category of offense, if found guilty, you will be sentenced at a much higher level. Thus, even conviction for a relatively minor offense can result in a very severe sentence. Habitual status offenses are charged in addition to the underlying charge and must be separately proven. If you have been arrested and are facing a potential habitual status classification, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney. At the Law Office of Kelli Y. Allen, PLLC, our Charlotte habitual status defense lawyers can assist you with navigating your criminal case.
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Types of Habitual Offenses
Many different types of offenses can be labeled as “habitual”. Although the types of offenses vary, the basis of labeling an offense as habitual is the same: An offender must have been charged with the same type of crime multiple times.
Anyone with a criminal record who is facing subsequent charges should be aware of the following habitual offenses:
- Habitual felon — Anyone who has been convicted of three prior felonies, regardless of the class, can be charged as a habitual felon when charged with the fourth felony. Habitual felon is a status that, once proven, results in a sentence four classes higher than the underlying felony, thus adding years to the sentence. To be found a habitual felon the State’s case must meet the following criteria: The accused was previously convicted or pled guilty to 3 felony offenses in any federal or state court in the United States on or after July 6, 1967; offense date of second and third felonies must be after the conviction date of the previous felony; only one felony committed prior to the age of 18 may be used to prove habitual felon status.
- Violent habitual felon — A person found to be a violent habitual felon is sentenced to life in prison. Conviction as a violent habitual felon requires the State to prove that the defendant was previously convicted of two violent felonies, Class A through E in any federal or state court in the U.S. on or after July 6, 1967.
- Habitual misdemeanor assault — Anyone previously convicted of 2 assaults within 15 years, whether felonies or misdemeanors, can, upon commission of a third assault, also be charged with habitual misdemeanor assault, which is punished as a Class H felony. The third assault must actually cause physical injury, or be an assault by pointing a gun to qualify under this statute.
- Habitual larceny — Anyone previously convicted of 4 larceny offenses, whether misdemeanors or felonies, can be charged with habitual larceny, which is punished as a Class H felony.
- Habitual DWI — Anyone who has been convicted of 3 impaired driving offenses within 10 years and is charged with a fourth offense. The offense date of each impaired driving offense must be after the conviction date of the previous offense. The consequences of a conviction for habitual DWI include: Class F Felony with a minimum active sentence of 1 year (cannot be suspended); Sentence runs consecutively with any other sentence; Permanent revocation of driver’s license; Seizure and forfeiture of vehicle.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Case
A habitual offense charge can result in serious consequences. If you are facing a habitual offense charge, please contact our firm — we will help you understand your case and provide the strong representation you need.
Send us a message or call (704) 870-0340 to speak with our habitual status defense lawyers in Charlotte, NC.
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