In North Carolina, it is a Class G felony for a felon to purchase, possess or be in control of a firearm. Section 14-415.1, the Felony Firearms Act, applies to anyone who is under indictment or may have been convicted in any state or court in the United States. It does not apply when the felony conviction pertains to restraint of trade, antitrust violations or unfair trading practices. It also does not pertain to individuals who have been pardoned.
For the purposes of section 14-415.1, a firearm is defined as any weapon, including a starter gun, which is capable of expelling an explosive projectile or that may easily be made capable of doing so. Antique firearms or replicas are exempt. Antique firearms are defined as those manufactured on or before 1898 and bearing a flintlock, matchlock, percussion cap or similar ignition system.
Firearms are often discovered when someone is stopped for misdemeanor DUI or a minor felony marijuana possession. A subsequent check of the detainee’s criminal record may then reveal a prior felony. In order to apply a felon-in-possession charge under section 14-415.1, the previous felony conviction must be a crime that carries a maximum sentence of over one year of incarceration.
A Class G felony is punishable by a prison sentence between 8 and 31 months. Illegal possession of a firearm is also a federal crime, which carries a much longer sentence of up to 10 years. A defense attorney can be an essential ally to anyone charged with a 14-415.1 felon-in-possession crime in North Carolina.