What Is a Class B Felony in North Carolina?
North Carolina divides its felony crimes into 10 separate categories. Class A crimes are the most serious felony offenses while Class I includes the least serious offenses of the 10 felony categories. Class B felonies are broken up into B1 and B2 categories. Some examples include:
- Rape – B1
- Aggravated child molestation – B1
- Conspiracy to commit a Class A or Class B1 felony – B2
- Statutory rape, when victim is 13-15 –B1
- Second-degree murder – B2
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
There is a very broad sentencing range for every felony class in North Carolina. For Class B1, the sentencing range is 144 months to life in prison without parole. For Class B2 felonies, the sentencing range is 94 to 393 months in prison. There are many laws that can enhance sentences based on aggravating factors that can add points to a defendant’s sentencing “score.”
North Carolina relies on a felony sentencing chart to help courts take into account a variety of factors surrounding crimes and end up with a fair result. On one side of the chart is a classification based on the seriousness of the specific crime. On the other side of the chart is the gravity and extent of any prior criminal history. Enhancements are possible to the figures entered into both sides of the chart. For example, the crime is more serious – and worth more overall points – if a pregnant woman is injured, body armor is involved or a criminal protective order has been violated. Points are also assigned in determining the seriousness of a defendant’s prior criminal history. The more violent felony convictions, for example, the higher the point total. For example, a previous B1 felony conviction is worth more points on the felony sentencing chart than a Class D felony conviction. In the end, more points equals a longer prison sentence. North Carolina also has mitigating factors as well, including offenses in which the defendant had only minimal involvement, offenses in which the defendant honestly believed no crime had been committed and defendants that accept responsibility for their actions.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted you will lose the following rights in North Carolina:
- Hold state office
- Serve on a jury
- Hold some jobs that require federal or state permits and licenses
- Own or possess a firearm
In North Carolina, a defendant convicted of a B1 or B2 felony automatically regains the right to vote with the completion of his or her sentence, including any and all parole and probation requirements. Also restored automatically are the rights to hold public office and be chosen for a jury. However, other rights lost because of a felony conviction are not automatically reinstated in North Carolina.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
According to criminal legal experts, North Carolina has more than 900 state and federal laws limiting civil rights and privileges for state residents with felony convictions. It is particularly challenging to find a job or housing in the state with a Class B1 or B2 conviction. There are a number of re-entry programs, as well as resources for landlords and employers willing to give convicted felons a second chance, such as the Center for Community Transitions or the North Carolina Justice Center. Taking advantage of these resources can make the re-entry much easier.
Clearing Your Record
Perhaps the most difficult right to restore for felons in North Carolina is the right to own or possess firearms. No one convicted of a serious felony – from Class A through Class B2 – or of any felony of violence no matter the category, can have their firearms rights restored. The governor has the power to pardon anyone with a felony conviction, no matter how serious. Someone with a Class B1 or B2 felony must wait 5 years to apply and can have no criminal activity during that time period. The state hands out three different types of pardons: A pardon of forgiveness usually includes conditions that must be followed and is most commonly authorized; a pardon of innocence to any defendant with proof that he or she is innocent and an unconditional pardon restores a wide range of civil rights, including the right to possess and carry a firearm in the state.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, you should visit an attorney.