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North Carolina Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, more commonly referred to as the "death penalty," is reserved for the most serious murder charges. In North Carolina, for example, murder of a law enforcement or court official is considered a capital offense. North Carolina capital punishment laws exempt those who are ruled insane; establish a minimum age of 17 for executions; and employ lethal injection as the preferred method.

Learn more about North Carolina capital punishment laws in the following table. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for additional articles.

Code Section 14-17; 15A-1001, et seq.; 15A-2000; 122C-313; 15-187
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity Exempt from execution if insane
Minimum Age 17; no minimum age for first degree murder while serving prison sentence for prior murder or which work on escape from such sentence.
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? None
Definition of Capital Homicide Capital felony committed by person lawfully incarcerated; previous capital felony convictions; previous felony conviction involving use/threat of violence; avoid lawful arrest or escape from custody; in connection with homicide, rape or sex offense, robbery, arson, burglary, kidnapping or aircraft piracy or bombing; for pecuniary gain; hinder lawful exercise of governmental function or enforcement of laws; victim was law enforcement officer, employee of Corrections Department jailer, fireman, judge or justice, prosecutor, juror or witness while engaged in duties or former; especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; great risk of death to more than one person; in connection with other crimes of violence against other person(s)
Method of Execution Lethal injection

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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