North Carolina charges several different assault crimes as both misdemeanors and felonies. No matter how you’re charged, a conviction could be disastrous. In addition to jail time, fines, and probation, you could run into problems getting a job or securing a place to live. Having an experienced attorney in your corner is essential to protecting your freedom.
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we thoroughly investigate the charges against our clients, explore all available legal strategies, and put together a compelling and aggressive defense for court. Don’t let criminal charges and convictions put your future in jeopardy. Count on the experience and dedication of our violent crimes attorney at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC.
How Does North Carolina Charge Assault Crimes?
Generally, assault is the act of putting another person in fear of unwanted bodily injury or contact. But the state of North Carolina has enacted several different laws prohibiting various kinds of assault. So rather than having a single definition or statute covering “assault,” there are many. They include:
- Simple assault. This includes unlawfully touching another person or threatening violence on that person. It’s charged as a misdemeanor that may be punished by up to 30 days in jail (or 60 days if you have a prior conviction) and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Assault and battery. This is similar to simple assault. If you physically injure another person, you can be charged with assault and battery. It is also charged as a misdemeanor as described above.
- Affray. This is legally distinct from simple assault and assault and battery and covers a fight in a public place that may cause injury or frighten others. It is also charged as a misdemeanor as described above.
- Assault with a deadly weapon. If you assault someone with an object that could be used to kill a person, you will probably be charged with this. This crime can include assaults with weapons as well as objects not typically considered to be weapons, such as vehicles, since they can technically kill someone. This may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Charges are elevated to a felony where a weapon was used that inflicted serious bodily injury or where there is evidence of intent to kill the victim. You can also expect probation and fines.
- Domestic violence. This is a broad category of criminal charges that covers assaults, communicating threats, stalking, and trespassing. These laws protect not just spouses and romantic partners, but ex-spouses, ex-partners, children, grandchildren, and even roommates. This is typically charged as a misdemeanor but could be charged as a felony.
- Assault on a female. This crime only exists where a male has assaulted a female. It is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, the most serious category in the state.
- Assault with strangulation. If you strangle someone while assaulting that person, you can be charged with this felony. This crime includes strangulation with the intent to injure or kill the victim.
- Sexual assault crimes. North Carolina charges several different sexual assault crimes as misdemeanors and batteries, depending on several factors such as the age of the victim.
These are serious crimes, regardless of the potential jail sentence, so speak with a lawyer right away.
As you can readily tell from the list above, there are many different ways to charge someone who has injured or threatened to injure another person. Having a strong legal defense is therefore critical to protecting your rights and freedom in court.
Sometimes the defense involves disputing the factors required to convict someone. For example, although “serious injury” is not defined in the statutes, there usually has to be an injury that requires medical attention. If the injury was less severe, your attorney could contest your charges.
Another possible defense to assault charges is self-defense. North Carolina law allows people to act with reasonable force to defend themselves or others provided it was no more force than was necessary to avoid injury.
Finally, you may even be able to prove that law enforcement arrested the wrong person. You could have been falsely identified as the assailant, and you may have witnesses and other forms of evidence that place you at a different location when the crime took place. Perhaps the individual who identified you as the assailant is an unreliable witness or has other credibility problems.
Your attorney will explore all evidence related to your charges and contest the state’s side of the story where possible.
Contact Our Carteret County Assault Defense Attorney
Regardless of the nature of the charges against you, an arrest is not a conviction. You’re entitled to a zealous legal defense and to have your day in court. It starts with retaining a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney who understands North Carolina’s assault statutes and knows how to put up a compelling defense.
Let Hancock Law Firm, PLLC go to work for you. Reach out to us today to get started on your case.