In North Carolina, there are multiple types of assault charges. Felony assaults are the most serious assault charge because they carry at least a year in jail for convicted defendants. If you’ve been arrested for an assault, you could face anything from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. Understanding the different types of assaults and the corresponding penalties can help you as you navigate the criminal justice process.
Attorney Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm, PLLC understands how serious felony assault charges are for North Carolina residents. If you’ve been arrested for a felony assault, it’s crucial that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Joel Hancock has successfully represented many clients facing a wide range of assault charges, including felony assault. Contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how he can advocate for you and your legal rights.
The Two Categories of Assault in North Carolina
There are two basic categories of assault in North Carolina: assault and affray. An affray involves two or more people physically fighting each other in a public place. A fight over football teams in a parking lot while tailgating would be an example of an affray. An assault involves a person’s attempt to attack another person by a show of physical force.
An assault can also occur when the defendant carries out an act that shows the victim that an assault is imminent. There are additional categories of assault. For example, a simple assault and a simple affray are considered misdemeanors. Generally, misdemeanors carry less than a year in jail; felony charges carry significantly more jail time.
Domestic Violence Can Constitute a Felony Assault in North Carolina
Domestic violence can be charged as a felony assault when certain conditions have been met. In North Carolina, domestic violence is defined as an act of violence committed against an individual with whom there is a personal relationship, such as a spouse, former spouse, romantic partner or former romantic partner, co-parent, roommates, or family member living in the same household.
Domestic violence can include physical assaults and sexual assaults. Although domestic violence isn’t defined as a crime, you can be charged with more serious crimes when the alleged victim has a personal relationship with you. For example, you can be charged with felony assault and battery for committing bodily harm or a credible threat of bodily harm against another person when aggravating factors are involved. Felony assault, stalking, and harassment are other examples of domestic violence-related assault crimes that can be charged as felonies.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Serious Intent to Kill
Assault with a deadly weapon was serious intent to kill, different from other forms of assault, such as a simple assault or assault on a female. Assault with a deadly weapon requires prosecutors to prove that the defendant used a deadly weapon and intended to kill the alleged victim. Specifically, the prosecution needs to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant:
- The defendant committed an assault
- On another person
- With a deadly weapon, and
- With the intent to kill
The statute doesn’t specifically define the word assault, but there is a clear understanding of what assault means under North Carolina common law. Assault is any overt act or attempt, with force or violence, to injure another person immediately physically. Additionally, there needs to be a show of force sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear of immediate physical injury.
Battery is also considered a form of assault in North Carolina. Battery includes the application of force, no matter how slight, to another person. Punching another person or hitting another person is a common example of battery. Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury can be charged as a class C penalty or class E felony. In both cases, defendants face significant jail time.
Defenses to Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Serious Intent to Kill
Suppose you are facing a felony assault charge for an assault with a deadly weapon. In that case, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced attorney who can develop an effective legal defense strategy for you. Depending on the facts in your case, you may be able to argue that you did not have a deadly weapon at the time of the alleged assault.
You may be able to argue that you could not have been at the location of the alleged assault at the time it occurred because you have an alibi showing you were elsewhere. The prosecution may not be able to show that you intended to kill the victim. In other cases, the law enforcement officers may have violated your constitutional rights requiring evidence against you to be dismissed. An experienced attorney can determine the best legal strategy for you.
Assault with Strangulation
Assault by strangulation is a class H assault felony charge under North Carolina law. The maximum penalty is 39 months in prison for those who are convicted. Strangulation is the obstruction of blood circulation or respiration by compressing or obstructing the windpipe. Assault by strangulation may happen in several different circumstances.
Two people could be involved in a fight, and one person may put his hands on the alleged victim’s neck and use them to choke the victim. It can also be a common incident in domestic violence situations where one partner will grab the other partner’s neck. Anytime someone uses their hands, a robe, or another item to choke another person, he or she could face felony assault charges.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled North Carolina Defense Attorney
If you are facing felony assault charges in North Carolina, your freedom and future could be in jeopardy. Felony assault charges can carry significant prison sentences, some up to life in prison. You will benefit from having an experienced, skilled attorney on your side. As soon as you hire Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, attorney Joel Hancock will begin investigating your case, gathering evidence, and negotiating for the best outcome possible. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary case evaluation.