Table of Maximum Permissible Punishments

For a variety of reasons, it is sometimes helpful to know the maximum punishment applicable to a particular type of offense. For instance, when charging a defendant with possession of a firearm by a felon, the indictment should set forth the maximum penalty by which the defendant’s prior felony offense was punishable. For some defendants that prior offense will be an older crime that was sentenced under unfamiliar laws that aren’t readily available online. With that in mind I prepared a chart, available here, that shows the maximum punishment applicable to a particular offense class at a given point in time. Each number shows the maximum sentence applicable to the “worst-case” defendant—the highest maximum in the aggravated range for a prior record level VI defendant. I went back to 1981, the start of Fair Sentencing, so if you have someone with an earlier conviction please feel free to give me a call and we’ll track down the relevant statute.

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6 comments on “Table of Maximum Permissible Punishments

  1. Thank you for that. We still see a few cases float by that involve Fair Sentencing, and this will help. On a related note, can you do a post that either explains or links to information on the Fair Sentencing Act? We still see a case or two come along that involves either a prior conviction under the act, or an old crime that is actually covered under the act. We are having a hard time finding information on it.

  2. Thank you so much! Very helpful…

  3. I really need a downloadable source of info on North Carolina’s Fair Sentencing Act. All books are out of print. Even those on Amazon are shown as “unavailable.” For example: “North Carolina Criminal Law and Procedure 1991 Edition-LexisNexis.” Can’t find specific info anywhere. Have spent many, many hours on the Internet searching…. No good.
    Help!! Thanks much…

  4. Have you made or do you plan to make an updated version of this since the 10/1/2013 changes? I carry your chart with me to court DAILY and would find that super-helpful!

  5. I’m not understanding why a person sentenced under the Fair Sentencing act with no prior criminal record received a sentence of life and those sentenced under structured sentencing, with multiple prior felony convictions, having committed the same criminal act, receive both a minimum and maximum date of release for their crimes. Why is there such a noticeable difference in the sentencing?