Although both the lawyer for a Wilmington area defendant and the assistant district attorney signed off on a prior record worksheet indicating that the defendant had no prior convictions, the trial judge treated the defendant as if she had “points” on her record and was a repeat offender. Appeals Attorney Mark Hayes brought the error to the attention of the N.C. Court of Appeals, which remanded the case for a new sentence.
“Criminal defendants often think they have been given a longer sentence than they deserve,” Mark Hayes said. “Many times they are just confused about how sentencing procedures work. Other times they just expected to get a shorter sentence. Then they contact a lawyer seeking a sentence reduction, and even they don’t understand if its appropriate to reduce their jail time. It can be a very confusing calculation to figure out which prior convictions give you ‘points’ and are going to make your sentence more severe. When an error has been made, you want to act quickly so that the appeal can be processed before the client starts serving time that they shouldn’t be.”
The defendant had been ordered to serve two years of supervised probation. The defendant’s new sentence should be reduced by six months from that original sentence.
For the full case, click this LINK. http://appellate.nccourts.org/opinions/?c=2&pdf=MjAxMy8xMi0xMTIyLTEucGRm