bullet casings and do not cross tape

What Constitutes Assault in North Carolina?

An assault occurs when one person tries to touch another person in a violent manner without their permission. Battery results when an assault is successful. In North Carolina assault and battery are considered a single offense: assault. An assault can be a punch, slap, or push; assault can also be throwing something at someone or spitting on someone. 

Types of Assault

There are three overall types of assault charges:

  1. Simple – the least serious type of assault, which involves minor injury or the limited threat of violence. This could include carrying a weapon in order to intimidate someone.
  1. Aggravated – this is a more serious type of assault, which carries a more severe penalty. Assault is often considered aggravated when it is carried out on first responders, pregnant victims, or if the victim is a member of a school’s staff. 
  1. Sexual – Sexual assault occurs when someone forces another person to engage in a sexual act without their explicit consent. There are a few different types of sexual assault:
  • Simple sexual assault 
  • Sexual assault with a weapon – threatening use of a weapon during the assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault – when the victim is seriously injured during the assault.


The punishment for assault often depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of each case. Assaults are put into separate classes depending upon the type of weapon used, the injury suffered, and the age/vulnerability of the victim:

  • Simple assault
    • Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail
  • Assault with serious bodily injury 
    • May be a Class A1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 150 days in jail;
  • Assault with a deadly weapon 
    • Committed with the intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm
    • Deadly weapons include guns, knives, blunt weapons, or any object that can be used as a weapon
    • May be a Class E felony, punishable by up to 98 months in jail

Penalties may be more severe if the alleged victim is a child, elderly person, handicapped person, student, or patient.


While assault is a crime, there are affirmative defenses that may excuse your actions or minimize your punishment. Such defenses include:

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of another
  • Defense of property
  • Mistake or accident

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Assault

If you have been charged with assault and believe that you are innocent or that your rights have been violated, you may have options. You have the right to defend yourself. Your best bet of doing so successfully is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will fight on your behalf. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you to fight this charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

cop cars at the scene of violent crime

Childhood Trauma May Serve as Mitigating Factor Concerning Violent Crimes

While all crimes are to be taken very seriously, violent crimes are considered much more serious than other “victimless” crimes, such as traffic offenses. As a result, those who are convicted of a violent crime often face lengthy jail sentences and hefty fines – not to mention a criminal record, which often impacts everything from where you can live to where you can work. This is why providing a defense against these accusations can be a good idea. Even if convicted, certain statements to the court may help to lessen the severity of your sentence. These are known as mitigating factors. 

One method that may prove very helpful is to ask the court for leniency through the presentation of childhood trauma, as there is a psychology often associated with violent crimes. 

The Origins of Much Violent Crime

Violent crimes usually don’t happen in a vacuum. Many people adopt violent behaviors in order to protect themselves from harm or simply put, to survive. When resources are scarce most people will go into survival mode. Individuals who have suffered childhood trauma or who have, themselves, been the victim of violent crime are likelier to commit violent offenses later on. 

Violent behaviors are often an effect of a subconscious need to protect oneself. Therefore, one of the better solutions for these individuals to heal and move beyond their issues is to seek counseling and probation – not incarceration. Community support can also make a big difference. 

Consider Your Background and Childhood

If you have been charged with a violent crime, it may prove extremely helpful to take a look at your background, including your childhood, to determine if there are factors that may help to mitigate the charges against you. This is not to say that you are denying responsibility, but that the punishment should take these factors into consideration. You may wish to request rehabilitation rather than incarceration. This is where an experienced attorney can prove very helpful. He or she can learn about your background and help to determine factors that may help your case. 

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Help Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Violent Crime

It can be incredibly scary to be arrested, and even more frightening to learn that you are going to be prosecuted under the criminal justice system. Not only the outcome of the case, but the experience itself can have a major impact on your life. That is why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you to fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!