Punishment is one of the most definite yet indefinite parts of criminal law. One of the most certain aspects of punishment is its inconsistencies. Throughout the various counties in North Carolina, the way DA’s offices handle cases and the way the Judges punish certain crimes will differ greatly. Even in the same courthouse different judges will render punishment on the opposite side of the punishment scale. While there are many different things to take in to account, North Carolina has pre-set limits to what types of punishments can be rendered and for how long.
While the pre-set limits on punishments give a degree of certainty in an uncertain atmosphere, the disparities still exist. This can be seen from speeding tickets all the way to felonies. Looking at speeding tickets in particular, one notices how neighboring counties differ significantly in how they handle certain speeds and violations. Mecklenburg County use to be a county that would rarely offer an Improper Equipment reduction to a speeding ticket. This however, appears to be changing now with a new District Attorney in office. Mecklenburg was always more strict in that regard than neighboring Union or Gaston county which frequently granted such a reduction. This is just a small example of how so many different factors can contribute to a defendants punishment. It is also another reason why representation in almost all criminal and traffic matters is essential, so defendants have someone who knows what to expect and who can provide accurate guidance.
February 11th, 2011