Misdemeanor Appeals

North Carolina Misdemeanors: What is a Misdemeanor in North Carolina?

The state of North Carolina categorizes offenses into three main categories: Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions/Ordinance Violations. Infractions and ordinance violations are the least serious while felonies are the most serious. A misdemeanor classification is for less serious crimes, but a conviction of this type is still a criminal conviction and can impact your life negatively…

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Trial de Novo: Can the State Add Charges?

Which is better: Level 2 DWI or Felony Serious Injury? Let’s assume you are charged with a misdemeanor that could be punished as a felony. For instance, you were driving while impaired and during that offense, injured another person. It’s possible for you to be charged and convicted under the DWI statute – § 20-138.1…

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Limiting Appeals to Superior Court

Very few people are happy with the way misdemeanor appeals works in much of North Carolina. District Criminal Court in North Carolina does not have juries. Trials are heard by judges who both decide the factual issues, guilt and innocence, and impose punishment. Only a small percentage of cases are actually appealed to Superior Court.…

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Trial de Novo and Federal Sentencing in North Carolina

North Carolina, like some states, has a two-tiered criminal system. Lower level cases, including infractions, almost all misdemeanors and most Class H & I felonies – can be resolved in District Court, which is the lower of two levels. If a person wants to have a trial on a misdemeanor or an infraction, that trial…

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Superior Court and DWIs: Part II

In addition to increasing the efficiency of DWI adjudication (about which I previously have commented), placing DWIs in Superior Court will improve a defendant’s access to discovery. N.C.G.S 15A-901 provides that all cases in the original jurisdiction of Superior Court are governed by the State’s open-file discovery law. This means that Defendants are entitled to…

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Superior Court and DWIs: Part I

One possible solution to the crush of DWIs (about which I’ve written recently) would be to assign DWIs to the original jurisdiction of the Superior Court. Currently, a DWI can take anywhere from 3 to 15 months to resolve in Wake County District Court. Once that process is over, and if the defendant has been…

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The State’s Use of Appeal and MAR in District Court

When a judge renders a judgment in District Court, a Defendant has a number of options. The Defendant can appeal the judgment within 10 days for a trial de novo in Superior Court. If the Defendant misses that 10-day window, the Defendant may also seek to re-open the case through a Motion for Appropriate Relief…

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Taking a DWI to Jury Trial

Sometimes I’m approached by folks who want to fight their DWI charge tooth and nail. They’re convinced they were driving impaired, and they are dead certain that a jury of their peers will find them “Not Guilty.” Whether a client – also known as the Defendant or the Accused – wants to go to a…

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What is District Court in North Carolina?

North Carolina has a unified court system, organized by county. Each county has a court in its county seat (although Wake County also operates a satellite court in Wendell on Fridays where misdemeanors are handled for eastern Wake communities.) North Carolina’s general court of justice is divided into two divisions, the lower District Court Division,…

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