113-135. General penalties for violating Subchapter or rules; increased penalty for prior convictions; interpretive provisions.

(a) Any person who violates any provision of this Subchapter or any rule adopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission or the Wildlife Resources Commission, as appropriate, pursuant to the authority of this Subchapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor except that punishment for violation of the rules of the Wildlife Resources Commission is limited as set forth in G.S. 113-135.1. Fishing without a license in violation of G.S. 113-174.1(a) or G.S. 113-270.1B(a) is punishable as an infraction. Otherwise, unless a different level of punishment is elsewhere set out, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor under this section is punishable as follows:

(1) For a first conviction, as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(2) For a second or subsequent conviction within three years, as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(b) In interpreting this section, provisions elsewhere in this Subchapter making an offense a misdemeanor "punishable in the discretion of the court" must be considered to set a different level of punishment, to be interpreted in the light of G.S. 14-3 or any equivalent or successor statute. Noncriminal sanctions, however, such as license revocation or suspension, and exercise of powers auxiliary to criminal prosecution, such as seizure of property involved in the commission of an offense, do not constitute different levels of punishment so as to oust criminal liability. Any previous conviction of an offense under this Subchapter, or under rules authorized by it, serves to increase the punishment under subsection (a) even though for a different offense than the second or subsequent one.

(c) For the purposes of this Subchapter, violations of laws or rules administered by the Wildlife Resources Commission under any former general or local law replaced by the present provisions of this Subchapter are deemed to be violations of laws or rules under this Subchapter. (1965, c. 957, s. 2; 1973, c. 1262, s. 28; 1979, c. 830, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 98; 1991, c. 176, s. 1; c. 761, s. 50.5; 1993, c. 539, s. 836; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 209, s. 3; 2013-360, s. 18B.14(m); 2013-385, s. 6.)