Armed robbery is a Class D felony. Depending on whether there are aggravating and/or mitigating factors, the sentence can range from 38-55 months up to 80-105 months for each count. If the defendant is convicted of more than one count, then the judge has the option to either run the sentences concurrently(all run at the same time) or consecutively(the sentences run end-to-end). This is a question that should be addressed to the defendant's attorney. If the defendant does not have an attorney, he/she should definitely take steps to get one, either by asking for a court appointed attorney or public defender or hiring a private attorney.
The attorney responding is licensed only in the state of North Carolina. This response does NOT constitute legal advice and does NOT create an attorney/ client relationship! Rather, the response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Although a response is provided to the specific question, there may be other facts and law relevant to the issue that the questioner has left out and which would make the reply unsuitable. Therefore, the questioner should not base any decision on the answer, but should confer with an attorney in person about the specifics of his or her case.
When you say one prior, do you mean one prior armed robbery? All of the felonies in North Carolina are assigned a class from most serious: Class A, which would be First Degree Murder, to least serious: Class I, which would include things like Possession of Cocaine or Forging a Check. Armed Robbery is a Class D. To know what sentence the defendant would face, we have to know his record. If I understood correctly that he has a prior Armed Robbery conviction, then he would be at Level III for sentencing and could receive a sentence of as much as 105 months (8 years, 9 months) to 135 months (11 years, 3 months) in prison to as little as 58 months (4 years, 10 months) to 79 months (6 years, 7 months).
No other type of sentence is possible. The court has no choice in the matter, but must send someone convicted of armed robbery to prison.
A person with no prior conviction of any kind would have to receive a sentence of no more than 80 months (6 years, 8 months) to 105 months (8 years, 9 months) and no less than 38 months (3 years, 2 months) to 55 months (4 years, 7 months).
This is incredibly serious stuff. If this is not a hypothetical question, I urge you to involve an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Having an experienced advocate in your corner right from the beginning can make a huge difference.
The other lawyers have accurately stated the law with respect to the Class of Crime and potential sentencing. North Carolina uses a structured sentencing scheme for most crimes - DWIs and Drug Trafficking are the major exceptions - and this structured sentencing scheme allows a lawyer to give a pretty accurate sentencing range for a given crime assuming the person is convicted of the crime.
It is often possible for the DA to offer a lesser offense as part of a plea arrangement. Armed robberies are sometimes reduced to Common Law Robbery, punishable as a Class G felony in North Carolina. You can think of Common Law Robbery as "unarmed" Robbery.
In addition, strictly speaking, it is possible for someone to receive a non-active sentence for a Class D Armed Robbery conviction in North Carolina under 15A-1340.13(g) which provides for "Extraordinary Mitigation".
Extraordinary Mitigation is a method by which the sentencing judge can sentence the person to an intermediate sentence where an active sentence would otherwise be imposed. Extraordinary mitigation is, as the name suggests, rare.