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North Carolina Felony Laws

Posted by Tamara

Computerized voting machines are becoming increasingly controversial. Under a new North Carolina law, it is a felony not to disclose every line of computer code in any software program related to voting. This is true, even if the code is owned by a third party such as Microsoft. This law has prompted several companies to withdraw bids for the state’s computerized voting machines.

Many states have laws even odder than North Carolina felony laws. In Arizona, it’s a felony to aimlessly fire a gun into the air in celebration. In Alabama, it’s a felony to pass a stopped school bus, even if there is no traffic accident and no one is injured. In Washington, a new state law makes it a felony to participate in an online poker game. In Illinois, possession of 1 oz. of marijuana is a felony, while in Alaska, possession of up to 1 oz of marijuana in your home is not even a misdemeanor – it’s not against the law at all. A proposed law in Florida would make it a felony for employers to ban guns in the workplace.  In Arkansas, it’s a felony to excavate or display human remains, even for historical or educational purposes.

Originally, felonies were limited to only the most serious of crimes: murder, rape, and child molestation. Less serious offenses were misdemeanors. In ancient times, felonies were punishable by death or dismemberment, and forfeiture of all property. Today, many crimes have been promoted to felony status. In various states, felony offenses include aggravated assault, battery, arson, burglary, drug possession or distribution, embezzlement, treason, espionage and racketeering. Many of these crimes also have misdemeanor versions. Fortunately, penalties have been reduced as well, although virtually all felonies carry a minimum sentence of one year in a state or federal penitentiary.

North Carolina felony laws are no stranger than those in other states are. In California, petty thefts can be prosecuted as a felony if the accused has a history of theft.  Felony convictions include stealing a single slice of pepperoni pizza from a group of children, or stealing four chocolate chip cookies. Both of these offenders were convicted and sentenced to 25 years in jail or more without parole, under California habitual offender laws. By contrast, possession of 25.9 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor in California. Conviction carries a $100 fine, and no jail sentence.  

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