Tag Archives: north carolina misdemeanor cases

“It was Just a Joke”—Was it a Criminal Threat?

“I’ll get you for that.”
“Maybe you’ll have an accident on the way home.”
“How would you like it if I. . . .?”
“I’m gonna come to the house and beat the **** outta you!”

Was it a “joke” or a criminal threat? There are times when interactions with others lead to words that probably should not have been uttered, but are. From financial disputes to domestic situations, many people say things they don’t really mean.

You may have been just letting off steam, but that doesn’t mean the recipient understood that. Whether you make the statement in person, on the phone, by email or text, or post them on social media, the other person may not find it as amusing.

Strong statements that include threats of violence during heated conversations may lead the other person to believe that you’ll carry through on those threats. At that point, the statement crosses the line into criminal behavior.

What North Carolina Law Says

"It was Just a Joke"- When Threats are Consider CriminalNorth Carolina General Statute 14-277.1 states that communicating any threat is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This includes:

• Threatening the individual, their child, or other family members, or the threat of property damage
• The threat is communicated to the other verbally, in writing, or by any other means
• The person issuing the threat does so as to make the other person believe that it is genuine
• The recipient of the threat believes the threat to be genuine and will be carried out
The courts do not require actual proof or witnessing any threatening movement, such as making a fist or swinging at someone.

Punishment for communicating threats includes 120 days in jail and a fine at the discretion of the judge. Oddly, simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor. This means that the courts have a stronger punishment for someone who threatens to strike someone than the person who actually does hit someone.

What About False Accusations?

Unfortunately, it’s fairly easy to accuse someone of communicating a criminal threat, even without evidence or proof. This happens sometimes in divorce cases that are not amicable. One party may accuse the other of communicating a threat in an attempt to “get the upper hand.” But it’s more likely that the false accusation will eventually backfire once it gets to court. If you are the party falsely accused of communicating threats of violence, it’s vital to seek immediate legal representation to defend you against the charges.

NOTE: The information in this blog should not be considered to be a substitute for the advice and counsel of a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer. If you have been charged with any crime, you should immediately speak with a criminal defense lawyer to learn about your options and how to go forward.

Criminal Defense Attorney For Communicating Threats And Other Charges In Raleigh

Because it’s so easy for someone to accuse a person of communicating a criminal threat or threats, you need to act quickly before a court date—and before anything else happens.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC with a proven track record of defending clients against criminal charges. If you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, contact him immediately to begin building your defense.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307.  Or you use our online contact form.

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your Life

Many people don’t think much of it if they find themselves charged with a misdemeanor crime. You may believe that a misdemeanor is on the same level as a parking ticket, but it isn’t. If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor, your life can still be severely impacted. Although it isn’t as serious as a felony, a misdemeanor is still a crime, and you should take it seriously.

Defining The Misdemeanor

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your LifeNorth Carolina divides misdemeanors into four categories: A1, 1, 2, and 3. These will depend on the seriousness of the offense you’re charged with, and can rage from simple marijuana possession to things like larceny (theft) and property damage.

  • Category 3 incurs a maximum fine of $200 and up to 20 days jail time
  • Category 2 incurs a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 60 days jail time
  • Category 1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 120 days jail time
  • Category A1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 150 days jail time

Can you afford to go to jail for 1 to 20 days? Chances are your employer will terminate you, and you’ll have a much more difficult time finding another job after a conviction.

Of course, the outcome of your case will depend on a number of different factors, including your criminal record or lack thereof, the facts of the case, and any agreements you and your defense attorney reach with the district attorney’s office. Some charges, such as minor traffic infractions, will incur no jail time.

How A Misdemeanor Can Cause Problems Later

Conviction of a misdemeanor still means that you have a criminal conviction, and you when asked, you will have to disclose your criminal record, whether it’s a single conviction or more than one.

Misdemeanor charges stay on your record, and nearly always show up on a background check. No matter how old they are, an employer will eventually find out about it once they request it. This means that a criminal conviction will show up on background checks related to:

  • Job applications
  • License applications
  • Housing applications (such as apartment complexes and other rental properties)
  • Mortgage loan applications
  • Student financial aid applications

A misdemeanor may prevent you from applying for and being hired for certain types of jobs, and restrict where you can live.

There may be occasions where an old county-level conviction may not show up in another county, or on a state level. But you should never assume that it won’t show up on a background check, especially for an employer.

Even for the most minor infractions such as simple affray, you should retain defense counsel against a misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have a criminal record, no different than if you’d committed a more serious or violent felony. Like a felony, the misdemeanor will follow you around for the rest of your life.


Criminal convictions in North Carolina of any kind do not automatically disappear from your record, no matter how old they are.

Texas, California and several other states have a “seven-year rule,” meaning that any records that are more than 7 years old will not show up in a background check. However, North Carolina has no such rule, but you can request to have an old record cleared with an expungement.

If you were arrested and/or convicted of a misdemeanor many years ago and have not had any other charges since then, it is possible to have your case expunged, or removed, from your record. Even if you were arrested and charged but found not guilty, a record still exists of this action.

Once you apply for an expungement and the court grants it, you will no longer have a criminal record, and you can legally answer the question about your criminal record with a confident “no.”

The rules surrounding expungement are complex. That’s important to discuss a possible expungement of your misdemeanor case with a criminal defense attorney so you can start the process and get on with your life.

Let Dewey P. Brinkley Defend You Against A Misdemeanor

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who understands the law and the Raleigh court system. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor like simple assault or disorderly conduct, no matter how minor, he can defend you in criminal court and work for the best possible outcome. Call Mr. Brinkley today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.