Capital Punishment in North Carolina

1-5Capital Punishment in North Carolina

North Carolina has various punishments for different crime convictions. The most serious of all crimes have the most severe penalties. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is only to be used for crimes that result in death, such as murder. Only about half the states have capital punishment in place. Capital punishment is a penalty for first-degree murder in North Carolina.


What is Capital Punishment?

Capital punishment is also called the death penalty. Capital punishment is sentencing that takes the life of the convicted criminal with execution. A convicted criminal who received a sentence of death will remain on “death row” in prison until execution. Death row is the name given to the part of the prison that houses convicted criminals while they await execution. North Carolina has had capital punishment in place since 1910.


Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Do I need to hire an attorney if I have been falsely accused?”


First Degree Murder

First degree murder is the only type of crime that is punishable by the death sentence. Felony murder is a killing that is willful, deliberate, and premeditated or that occurs in the commission of rape, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or any Class A felony, among others. A person over the age of 18 who is convicted of felony murder can be sentenced to life in prison without parole or death. To be convicted of felony murder, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder occurred due to a premeditated or deliberate act. If the death happened in self-defense or in the heat of passion, it would not qualify as felony murder.


What Form of Capital Punishment Does North Carolina Utilize?court-cases-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-criminal-defense-lawyer-scaled

There are several options for capital punishment that are used in states across the country. North Carolina utilizes lethal injection. Some other states also use the electric chair or firing squad. It is important to note that no executions have been carried out in our state since 2006. Several lawsuits were filed that brought the use of lethal injection into question. Therefore, anyone convicted with a penalty of death remains on death row. Currently, male prisoners on death row in North Carolina are housed in Central Prison, and female inmates on death row reside in North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women.


What is Lethal Injection?

Lethal injection is an injection with a mixture of deadly substances. Lethal injection may utilize a high dose of phenobarbital, a potent barbiturate. The injection is supposed to cause a swift and painless death. However, there have been cases where the inmate did not die quickly or was seen to be in a lot of agony or pain. This has led to controversy surrounding the use of lethal injections. Some states, such as South Carolina, brought back the option of death by firing squad. The inmate would have the option to choose death by electric chair or firing squad. North Carolina still has only one way to carry out the death penalty, which is by lethal injection.


Felony murder is a serious charge that requires an immediate and aggressive defense. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to request a consultation to discuss your case.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may face include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in defense of those facing criminal charges.



capital punishment | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


Image Credit

Download | FreeImages


See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:

Arnold & Smith, PLLC – YouTube


See Our Related Blog Posts:

What is an Alford Plea in North Carolina?


Should I Take a Plea Deal?

Contact Information