Misdemeanors and Consecutive Sentences

It could be very difficult to try and figure out what the maximum sentence a client can be exposed to when being convicted of multiple misdemeanors. NCGS 15A-1340.22(a) sets out the two rules one must follow in order to calculate the maximum exposure for a client.

Basically, if the court imposes a consecutive sentence for two or more misdemeanors, and the most serious misdemeanor is a Class A1, Class 1, or Class 2, the length of the sentence of imprisonment will not be allowed to exceed twice the maximum sentence authorized for the most serious offense based on the class and prior conviction level.

Additionally, consecutive sentences cannot be imposed if all of the convictions are for Class 3 misdemeanors. These rules apply in both District Court and Superior Court for misdemeanor sentencing.

I recently ran into this issue when I had a client accept a plea deal, where-in he pled down from a felony to multiple misdemeanor offenses. The most serious misdemeanor offense was a Class A1 misdemeanor. My client had no prior criminal history and was a prior record level one, so his maximum exposure was 120 days if the judge elected to give him consecutive sentences.