Habitual Felons in North Carolina

1-1024x1024Habitual Felons in North Carolina

Felonies are usually serious charges that can result in severe penalties if convicted. The penalties are designed to deter people from committing crimes in the future. Sometimes, a convicted felon commits another crime. Most states have laws in place that require stiffer penalties when someone has previously been convicted of a felony. These laws are often called “three-strike” laws and pertain to people who have two prior felony convictions. These people are known as habitual felons.


What is a Habitual Felon?

A habitual felon is a person who has been found guilty of three felony crimes. Specifically, North Carolina law defines a habitual felon as “Any person who has been convicted of or pled guilty to three felony offenses in any federal court or state court in the United States.”  Once one is a habitual felon, the penalties for subsequent convictions may be much higher than they are for others. If a habitual felon is later convicted or pleads guilty to another felony, they will face extremely stiff penalties.


Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What are the long-term effects of being convicted of a crime?”


What are the North Carolina Laws Regarding Habitual Felons?

North Carolina has laws that govern habitual felons. The law is also known as the “three-strikes” law. North Carolina has had a law addressing habitual felons since 1967, which was amended in 1994. The law states that a third conviction for any violent felony will result in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Violent felonies include Class A through E felonies. Some examples of these types of felonies are murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, forceable rape, and more.


A person convicted of two prior felonies is subject to a sentence that is four levels higher than the penalty would normally be. This holds true for most felonies and applies to up to Class C felonies. This means that a person who was previously convicted or pleaded guilty to a felony will face extreme penalties, which will likely increase the length of time the person will spend in prison. It is important to note that felonies committed prior to the age of 18 will not constitute more than one felony.



Defending Felony Charges

The three-strike law provides for extreme penalties for habitual offenders. It is essential to vigorously defend any and all criminal charges, particularly felonies. There are often options that your attorney will present that allow for a successful defense of the charges or provide for an opportunity to reduce charges or seek a plea agreement. In some instances, the evidence may be suppressed if the police did not use legal means to obtain it.


If the evidence is weak, it might be possible to get the charges lowered or dropped completely.

Every situation is different and has a unique set of circumstances, so it is best to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a consultation.




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 be facing 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 the defense of those facing criminal charges.



G.S. 15A-1340.23 (ncleg.net)

G.S. 14-7.3 (ncleg.gov)


Image Credit



See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:



See Our Related Blog Posts:

What’s the difference between a misdemeanor DWI and a felony DWI?

Building a Defense when facing felony drug charges in North Carolina

Contact Information