North Carolina Assault Defense Attorneys
Assault Consequences in NC
North Carolina law provides that any person who commits a simple assault is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The term “battery’ is often used interchangeably with assault.
There are a number of additional elements that can result in more serious charges. These more serious crimes include Class 1 and Class A1 misdemeanors and can even grow into a wide range of felonies.
Class 1 misdemeanors carry a maximum 120-day jail sentence and a discretionary fine. A Class A1 misdemeanor, the highest level of misdemeanor, carries up to a 150-day jail sentence with a discretionary fine.
If your charge is at a felony level, you can expect even stronger punishments if you are convicted. The more serious the charge, the more experience you will want your criminal defense lawyer to have.
What Is Considered Assault?
A simple assault involves the threat of unlawful touching or bodily harm with the immediate ability to carry out the threat. This offense does not require any physical contact. Simple assault charges are the least serious assault charges that can be made against a defendant.
Types of Assault Cases in North Carolina
Simple assault occurs when a person shows force or violence that causes a person to reasonably fear they will suffer immediate physical injury.
The best criminal defense attorneys are familiar with all the ways that a seemingly simple assault case can be transformed by an ambitious prosecutor (or one who simply wants more leverage in a negotiation) into a more serious crime by alleging additional facts.
More serious penalties can be imposed if the assault involved:
- Assault Inflicting Serious Injury
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury with Intent to Kill
- Malicious Injury by an Explosive, Incendiary, or Acid
- Assault on a Female When You Are 18 or Older
- Assault on a Government Officer, Sports Official, Handicapped Individual, Emergency Personnel, Child Under 12, and many other specially protected employed persons
Penalties for Different Assault Crimes
Here are some of the various assault charges that you may face in North Carolina and their potential penalties:
- Simple assault – Simple assault (as described above) is a Class 2 misdemeanor. It carries up to a maximum of 30 days suspended for a first conviction. If you have a previous conviction of this offense, you can face a sentence of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Simple affray – A simple affray is basically getting into a fight in public or an altercation that puts others in fear for their safety. A simple affray charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
- Assault causing serious bodily injury – If the assault caused serious bodily injury, you could be charged with a Class F felony, which has a maximum penalty of 59 months’ imprisonment.
- Assault by strangulation – This offense can be charged as a Class H felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 39 months’ imprisonment. If the strangulation results in serious injury, it can be charged as a Class F felony.
- Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill – Under NCGS 14-32, you can be charged with a Class C felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 231 months’ imprisonment, if you assault someone with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill and inflict serious injury on them.
- Assault involving a deadly weapon – If you assault another person with a gun or other deadly weapon but you do not have the intent to kill, you may face other criminal charges. For example, it is illegal under NCGS 14-34 to point a gun at another person. This offense is a Class A1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 150 days in jail. If you assaulted a person with a deadly weapon and inflicted serious injury but did not have the intent to kill, you can face Class E felony charges, which carry up to 88 months’ imprisonment. However, if your criminal record is not too serious, a skilled lawyer may be able to help you avoid jail, even if you are convicted of a Class E felony.
The potential penalties you may face depend on various factors, including your prior criminal history, whether the victim suffered injuries, your mental state, and the circumstances surrounding the offense. Our criminal defense lawyers will work relentlessly to minimize or eliminate the consequences of a conviction.
What is Considered Aggravated Assault?
North Carolina does not have an offense called “aggravated assault.’ However, more serious crimes can be charged if additional factors were present at the time of the offense. In general, these additional factors often include a serious injury or the use of a weapon.
Factors that show a serious injury include severe pain the victim suffered, whether the victim was hospitalized, and whether the victim sustained serious mental or emotional injury.
It is also worth noting that even DWI charges can be elevated to violent crimes when they involve injury or death.
What Are the Most Serious Assault Crimes?
The most serious non-sexual and non-lethal assault classification is Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury. This crime is a Class C felony. Convictions for class C felonies carry a punishment that includes mandatory prison time.
There are a variety of assaults beneath Class C felonies, including the likes of malicious maiming and malicious castration. Sexual assaults and homicides are exceptions to this rule and are typically more serious but are treated as their own category for the purposes of this discussion as the defenses of such charges are inherently unique.
What is Considered a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon can be anything, a weapon or a tool, that can cause death. Guns and knives are deadly weapons, but pens or pencils, a glass bottle, or a bookend are also deadly weapons. Hands and feet can be considered deadly weapons when the relative size, strength, or training of the alleged perpetrator are considered.
It does not matter if an object that is considered to be a deadly weapon has another use. If it is used as a weapon, it is considered a weapon. On top of that, an unloaded gun, a BB gun, or a paintball gun can also be classified as a deadly weapon because of the fear it provokes in a victim.
The Two Types of Assault in North Carolina
North Carolina law has established two types of assaults:
- The first type of assault is an act, attempt, or the appearance of an attempt to physically injure another person with force or violence. Under this type of assault, there has to be a show of force or menace of violence sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear of immediate injury.
- The second type of assault is an assault by show of violence. This type of assault occurs when there is an apparent ability to inflict injury. A reasonable person must fear harm from it, and it must cause the victim to do something they normally would not have done.
Contact Our Assault Defense Lawyers
If you are facing assault charges, contact our Raleigh assault lawyers as soon as possible. You should also avoid making statements to the police. Remember that you have a right to a lawyer.
The dedicated assault attorneys at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC can help guide you through your assault charge and find the best solution for you, whether if it is a trial or a plea bargain. Our team of defense lawyers is prepared to help you. We are experienced in handling assault cases.
Our criminal defense attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Knightdale, New Hope, Apex, Morrisville, Wendell, Wake Forest, Garner, Rolesville, and Zebulon. Contact us today for your confidential consultation.