We’ve all heard of the California “Three Strikes” rule. Well, North Carolina’s version of the Three Strikes rule is the Habitual Felon charge.
Who can be charged? A person may be charged as a habitual felon if they have been found guilty of three felonies in any state in the United States, as long as the convictions came from three different court sessions.
Example: Tony Soprano pled guilty to Felony Larceny in 1985 (Washington, DC), Felony DWI in 1992 (Charlotte, NC), and Felony Common Law Robbery in 1999 (Detroit, Michigan). Tony is now charged with Felony Sale of Cocaine in Perquimans County, North Carolina. The District Attorney has informed Tony that she plans to charge Tony with Habitual Felon.
What does this mean? North Carolina ranks felonies in classes A through I. A-Class felonies are considered the most serious and carry the most active prison time. I-Class felonies carry the least amount of active prison time, if any.
A person charged with a crime as a habitual felon can be subjected to punishment up to four classes higher than the actual charge. The punishment can never be higher than a C-Class felony punishment, even with the added penalty.
Example: Tony is charged with Felony Sale of Cocaine, which is an H-Class felony. As a habitual felon, Tony will be subject an E-Class felony punishment. For Tony’s purposes, he will be looking at about 20 more months in prison than if he was not charged as a habitual felon.
Get help. If you have been charged as a habitual felon in North Carolina, please contact me to set up a free consultation. If your charge is outside of my geographic service area, I’ll gladly help you find another qualified attorney.