Post Supervision Release and New Maximum Sentences

In light of recent changes to North Carolina’s post-supervision release and post-conviction laws, all offenses, except now have post supervision release.

Everyone convicted of an offense committed on or after December 1, 2011 will be required to complete Post-Release Supervision. Class B1 to F have twelve months of post supervision release. Class F through I will have 9 months of post supervision release. Under previous law, a prior-record-level II offender sentenced for a Class H felony at the top of the presumptive would receive 8 to 10 months, with no post-supervision.

Under the new law, the same person would face a sentence of 8 to 19 months, where the person would serve between 8 and 10 months, with the balance of the sentence hanging over the person’s head upon release at no later than 10 months. In other words, the person would have at least 9 months hanging over his head while on post supervision release.

The 19 months represents real time, which means if the person violates the conditions of Post Supervision Release, the person could end up serving the additional 9 months. But the Justice Reinvestment Act restricted the ability of the Post Supervision Release Commission to immediately impose the active time upon revocation, and may require the PSR Commission to initially impose “quick dunks” for the offender. Those quick dunks would be credited against the time.

Next, the new maxes will affect splits. Splits are calculated off the max. This may have been an unintended consequence of the new maxes, but the quarter of the total maximum sentence now has increased as well.

A person on a split could end up serving, for instance, as much as almost 5 months on a Class H, Level II felony presumptive range sentence, which is just one month shy of the bottom of the presumptive. Obviously, splits are usually negotiated with the Assistant District Attorney, which means that the split might be much lower. But in this scenario, it may not make much sense for the defendant to agree to a plea involving a split that is nearly as long as the minimum sentence he might serve on straight active time.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.