North Carolina statutes consider a wide range of offenses to be violent crimes. These statutes are the same in Beaufort, Morehead City, and all of Carteret County. Some of these are misdemeanors, while others are serious felonies. Every crime has certain elements that must be proven in a court of law in order for the defendant to be convicted. The role of a criminal defense attorney is to investigate what happened and challenge the State’s evidence. If you are facing charges for violent crimes, you need the experienced criminal defense team of Hancock Law Firm.
Common Violent Crimes:
What is Assault and Battery?
Common law assault means placing another person in fear of bodily injury or death. On the other hand, battery refers to any unwanted, offensive touching of another person. Such touching may or may not cause injury to the victim. “Assault and battery” are often used together, although there is a difference in whether the victim was touched. North Carolina’s assault statutes cover the act of placing someone in fear of injury or death as well as the actual unwanted touching of someone. You can be charged with simple assault if you either threaten someone or actually touch them in an unwanted or threatening manner.
There is a separate crime known as sexual battery. This is defined as engaging in sexual contact with another person for purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. A person convicted of sexual battery will be required to register as a sex offender.
Assault may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts involved. Certain factors such as the use of a deadly weapon can elevate the charges.
Another separate offense is assault on a female. If you are a male, 18 years or older, you could be charged with this. It is a Class A1 misdemeanor, making it more serious than an assault on another man or one committed by a woman.
What acts could be considered kidnapping?
Most people think of kidnapping as taking a child and holding him or her for ransom. But the statute is actually broader than that, rendering a number of behaviors as potentially punishable. Kidnapping is unlawfully restraining, confining, or removing, from one place to another, a person, without their or their parent’s or guardian’s consent, for the purpose of:
- Holding such person for ransom or as a hostage
- Using such a person as a shield
- Committing any felony or aiding the flight of any person after committing a felony
- Doing serious bodily harm to the person who is kidnapped
- Terrorizing the person who is kidnapped
- Holding such person in involuntary servitude
- Trafficking such person for purposes of placing him or her in involuntary servitude
- Subjecting such person to sexual servitude
Kidnapping may be charged in the first degree (Class C felony) or second degree (Class E felony).
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence encompasses certain offenses against an individual with whom you have a personal relationship. It includes:
- Attempting or intentionally causing serious bodily injury
- Placing the victim or a member of his or her family in fear of harassment or imminent serious bodily injury
- Sex crimes committed against the victim
“Personal relationship” includes:
- Current or former spouses
- Current or former romantic partners
- Blood relatives
- The other parent of your child
- Current or former members of your household
A domestic violence conviction can have serious repercussions, including restraining orders, the requirement to surrender firearms, and restrictions to or changes in child custody.
Homicide and Manslaughter: What Is the Difference?
These are two terms which are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are significant differences. Homicide includes first and second-degree murder. First-degree murder, which is charged as a Class A felony, includes deliberate, willful, and premeditated murder. It also covers a murder that happens during the commission of a felony. First-degree murder is also charged when someone murders, with malice, a person with whom he or she has an intimate relationship. Any other type of murder is second-degree and may be charged as a Class B1 or Class B2 felony.
Manslaughter is a different criminal offense. Whereas killing someone with malice would land you with a homicide charge, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of someone without malice aforethought. That means killing but without the intention to kill. Voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, is killing someone in the heat of passion. Involuntary manslaughter, a Class F felony, happens when someone’s careless or reckless behavior accidentally kills another person.
Either one of these charges are serious, no matter what the specifics involved, and you should consult a criminal defense attorney immediately if you are facing them.
What Are Some Defenses to Violent Crime Charges?
Because prosecutors have to prove every element of the offense you are charged with, there are a number of potential defenses your lawyer could raise. Working with your attorney, you can explore defenses that are based on:
- False witness testimony or police reports
- False accusations
- Third-party defense
- Mistaken identity
- Faulty forensic evidence and DNA testing
- Bias from police and prosecutors
Contact Our Carteret County Violent Crimes Defense Attorney
Knowing and understanding the elements of the violent crime you are charged with is one significant reason to have a defense attorney. Your lawyer will know what the state has to prove and will work hard to poke holes in the evidence against you. In some cases, a defense attorney will negotiate a plea deal, alternatives to punishment, or recommendations that the prosecutor pursues lesser or different charges. These options are far more difficult to negotiate if you do not have an attorney.
Even if you are offered a plea deal, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. And you certainly need one if you are facing a trial. The Hancock Law Firm is dedicated to defending the rights of those accused. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your case.