Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is illegal in North Carolina under both state and federal law.
Depending on the defendant's criminal history, the facts of the case, and whether they are prosecuted in state or federal courts, the penalties can be extremely serious, and competent counsel should be retained if possible.
North Carolina Law
North Carolina Gen. Statute Sect. 14-415.1 establishes the felony offense of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Under North Carolina law, to secure a conviction for the offense, a prosecutor must prove all of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
1. Has previously been convicted of
a) A felony in North Carolina or
b) a violation of the criminal law of another state or the United States (federal crime) for an offense substantially similar to a North Carolina felony and carrying a punishment of more than one year imprisonment
2. (a) purchases
(c) possesses or
(d) has in his custody, care, or control
3. (a) a firearm or
(b) a weapon of mass death and destruction.
Possession can be Actual or "Constructive"
Possession may be proven by either actual or constructive possession. Actual possession occurs and can be proven by evidence that the Defendant kept the firearm on their person; constructive possession can be proven by establishing beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the power and intent to control the gun's disposition. According to North Carolina case law:
A person has actual possession of a firearm if it is on his person, he is aware of its presence, and either by himself or together with others he has the power and intent to control its disposition or use. In contrast, a person has constructive possession of a firearm when, although not having actual possession, the person has the intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over the firearm.