North Carolina Criminal Charges + Sentencing, Hearings & Statute of Limitations

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The federal government has been prosecuting many types of crimes more aggressively in recent years, and North Carolina cases are part of this trend.

Given how often the federal government is bringing a variety of federal charges against the accused these days, it is important to know the law well. Also, the consequences of a federal conviction usually are very serious and far worse than a state conviction. A good example is a drug charge in North Carolina. If it is charged on the federal level, you could easily do a five year minimum sentence, given that the feds often harshly charge drug crimes. If that same charge is brought at the North Carolina state level, you may be able to get merely probation or a brief stint in jail.

If federal charges are brought against you in North Carolina, as in all states, the federal government is mandated to inform you of the nature of the charges. After you are informed of the charges, you usually are held in federal custody until the trial. That is, unless you can make bond and get out of jail until the trial.

About the Preliminary Hearing

In North Carolina, as in all US states, your preliminary hearing is done within three days of your federal charges arrest. It is at this hearing that you will first see the evidence that is against you.

Remember: When you are arrested on federal charges, the prosecution probably has built a strong case against you prior to your arrest. It is highly probable that the prosecuting attorney will have a lot of evidence against you. Also note that the burden of proof in this early hearing is very low. The prosecution from the federal government only needs to show probable cause, not beyond a reasonable doubt, the much higher standard that applies in the trial.

In this hearing, the prosecutor can have witnesses testify against you, and hearsay also is admissible. In all likelihood, you will be held in custody until the trial starts. However, your North Carolina criminal attorney can use the early hearing to hear any evidence they have against you. This could be vital to building a good defense later on.

About the Bond Hearing

The bond hearing is held in North Carolina federal district court, and you probably will try to get released on bond. If you have character witnesses testify on your behalf, it is possible that you could be released if you can come up with the bond money.

Federal Jurisdictions in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina has three districts:

  • East

  • Middle

  • West

Sentences for Federal Crimes in North Carolina

When you are facing a federal charge in North Carolina, you also may be charged at the state level and have to do even more prison time. The state and the feds may also work together and decide to charge you only at one level or the other. If you do get convicted on the federal level, federal sentencing guidelines will inform the judge of how much time you should do. The length of the sentence will vary based upon several factors:

  • Do you have family and children to support?

  • Did you come from a bad childhood?

  • Did you have a previous criminal record?

  • Do you have anyone who can testify as to your character?

  • If you have a drug or alcohol problem, did you seek treatment?

Top North Carolina Federal Crime Issues

The most common issues involving federal prosecution in North Carolina are immigration and drug trafficking crimes.

Statute of Limitations in North Carolina

There is a uniform statute of limitations in effect for various types of federal crimes in the US. This ensures that you are not unfairly prosecuted years after the alleged crime occurred. But some crimes, such as murder, have no statute of limitations.

Civil Violations

  • Assault – 2 years

  • Contract – 10 years

  • False imprisonment – 2 years

  • Fraud – 5 years

  • Judgements – 20 years

  • Libel – 1 year

  • Personal injury – 2 years

  • Property damage – 5 years

  • Slander – 1 year

  • Wrongful death – 2 years

Criminal Violations

  • Arson – No limit

  • Assault – 3 years

  • Burglary – 3 years

  • Murder – no limit

  • Manslaughter – no limit

  • Rape – no limit or 3 years, depending on case

  • Kidnapping – 3 years

  • Robbery – 3 years