North Carolina Misdemeanor Criminal Defense

Misdemeanor offenses are not as serious as felonies, but they can still cause major problems in your life if not handled properly.

When you are challenging misdemeanor charges in Watauga County, you need a criminal defense lawyer who can effectively strategize your defense for the best results possible. No matter what you are charged with, it’s inadvisable to represent yourself in court. When your future is at stake because of a criminal charge, you will need the trusted legal representation and guidance from a North Carolina misdemeanor lawyer in Boone.

If you have never been charged with a crime before, you want to keep your record clean. If you already have a criminal history, it is important to not add to it. There are many options available that can help your case get dismissed. Our experience can give you the best fighting chance to avoid harsh penalties and consequences from having a criminal record associated with a misdemeanor conviction.

Common Misdemeanor Offenses in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a criminal charge is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Felony convictions are often reserved for more serious and violent crimes such as murder, rape, or robbery. Misdemeanor crimes are reserved for crimes considered less serious than felonies, resulting in a lesser punishment. Even though misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony charges, it can still leave you with a criminal record. If you are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime, you will have to answer affirmatively when asked on employment applications about your criminal convictions. A criminal charge puts your livelihood and future at risk. With many common college crimes being classified as misdemeanors in the state of North Carolina, it is essential to take immediate action on a misdemeanor charge.

  • Simple assault
  • Assault inflicting serious injury
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Assault by pointing a gun
  • Assault on a government official or employee
  • Assault on a female
  • communicating threats
  • Harassing phone calls
  • Cyberstalking
  • Misdemeanor stalking
  • Violation of a domestic violence order
  • Trespassing
  • Injury to real property
  • Injury to personal property
  • Larceny/shoplifting
  • Possession of stolen goods
  • Receiving stolen goods
  • Breaking and entering
  • Worthless checks
  • Wildlife violations
  • Possession of controlled substances (Marijuana, pills,
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Intoxicated and disruptive
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Resisting arrest/resist, obstruct, or delay
  • Underage possession of alcohol/drinking ticket/consuming alcohol
  • Open container
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Driving While License Revoked
  • Driving While Impaired
  • Driving After Consuming Alcohol being less than 21 years

Typical College Crimes:

  • Underage Possession of a Malt beverage
  • Underage Possession of a mixed beverage or liquor
  • Underage Consumption of Alcohol
  • Simple Possession of Marijuana
  • Possess Drug Paraphernalia
  • Simple Possession of Controlled Substances
  • Intoxicated and Disruptive
  • Driving While Impaired
  • Driving after consuming alcohol being less than 21 years

Misdemeanor Punishments & Convictions

When you are charged with a misdemeanor case in North Carolina, you will be initiated with a citation or summon from the arresting officer or district prosecutor. If you are arrested, your case will be taken before a magistrate who will set your bond. The initial court proceeding is arraigned by the General District Court and allows you to be notified of the charges against you, select your legal counsel, and set a trial date. If you decide to plead not guilty, a judge will decide your guilt or innocence, not a jury.

North Carolina courts classify misdemeanors in 4 classes, with Class 3 offenses being the least serious and an A1 being the most serious type of misdemeanor crime. Each class of misdemeanor can result in a range of sentences. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina, the judge ruling in your case considers the class of misdemeanor and any prior conviction level on your criminal record to determine your misdemeanor classification.

Once you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense in North Carolina, you will be categorized into one of three prior conviction levels. Those with no previous criminal convictions are classified as Level I, 1-4 prior convictions are classified as Level II, while those convicted of five or more crimes are Level III. Contingent upon these factors, your judge will decide on sentencing for your case, from ordering you to complete required community service to incarceration.

Misdemeanor Punishments

***Effective for Offenses Committed on or after 12/1/13***

No Prior Convictions


One to Four Prior Convictions


Five or More Prior Convictions

1 – 60 days
1 – 75 days
1 – 150 days
1 – 45 days
1 – 45 days
1 – 120 days
1 – 30 days
1 – 45 days
1 – 60 days
Fine Only*
1 – 10 days
(One to Three Prior Convictions)
Fine Only* 1 – 15 days

(Four Prior Convictions)
1 – 15 days

1 – 20 days

*Unless otherwise provided for a specific offense, the judgment for a person convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor who has no more than three prior convictions shall consist only of a fine.

  • A – Active Punishment
  • I – Intermediate Punishment
  • C – Community Punishment
  • Cells with slash allow either disposition at the discretion of the judge

Work with a Criminal Attorney in Boone, NC

Although most North Carolina misdemeanors may not result in significant jail sentences or large fines, you will need a criminal defense attorney on your side. Jason Harmon is a committed lawyer in Boone, NC, and is here to guide you through your court hearings and has experience working with local judges, prosecutors and laws. Discuss the facts of your case as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights when faced with a misdemeanor charge.