Can you get a felony charge downgraded in NC?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you face jail time, you might wonder if there is any possible way of escaping it. Although you could avoid jail by having your charges dropped or dismissed, this is not a common or easy solution.

Downgrading criminal charges are one possibility for avoiding jail time. This legal strategy could take felony charges and drop them down to a misdemeanor.

What downgrading criminal charges means

Once a crime takes place, the prosecutor presses charges against the individual believed to be responsible. Typically, there is a firm belief in the strength of the evidence and testimony surrounding the case to convict the individual. However, there is no guarantee that a jury or judge will hand down a conviction. If the prosecutor wants to reduce the chances of losing to an acquittal, he or she may decide to downgrade a charge. Rather than prosecuting the action to the fullest extent allowed by law, the prosecutor changes the charge to be a lesser crime with less severe consequences.

Why downgrading might occur

In addition to feeling a potential weakness in the case that could jeopardize a conviction, a prosecutor may agree to downgrade a charge to avoid the time-consuming effort involved in preparing for a felony trial. In many cases, those guilty of a felony will plead guilty to a lesser, misdemeanor charge and avoid the expense of a trial.

Prosecutors have no legal obligation to offer a plea bargain or downgrade a charge. However, a deal that removes felony offenses and consequences could help you avoid significant jail time.