Assault and battery are very serious criminal offenses that can carry just as serious criminal consequences. With this in mind, it’s vital that those accused of assault and battery in North Carolina obtain a criminal defense lawyer they can trust to investigate their legal options and preserve their rights. Our team at Wilkie Law Firm is made up of one of the best criminal defense attorney in North Carolina and we are committed to helping people in our community as they navigate the criminal justice system. Every person who seeks our assistance is important to us, and we take satisfaction in acting as trusted legal champions for our clients.
If you have been accused of or charged with a drug offense in North Carolina, please contact the Wilkie Law Firm as soon as possible. Give us a call at 910-333-9626 today for a consultation and decide for yourself if the Wilkie Law Firm is the best choice for you.
Types of Assault and Battery Charges
Assault and battery in NC can take many different forms. The following are some of the common types of charges that our criminal defense team handles on a regular basis:
- Simple Assault – This is the most basic form of assault, with the alleged victim usually suffering no injuries. For the offense to be classified as simple assault, no weapons must be used and no actual physical contact must occur. Assaulting another individual verbally is also prohibited.
- Simple Battery – Any unwanted physical contact, typically with the use of force, is included in this broad offense. For one to be charged with simple battery, the alleged victim must not sustain any severe injuries.
- Aggravated Assault – Coercion or the implicit threat of injury is included in this type of attack, as is the use of a dangerous weapon or other aggressive display of force. Aggravated assault frequently results in serious injuries to the victim.
- Aggravated Battery – The use of a dangerous weapon to hurt another person is typical of this sort of battery. If the alleged crime is committed against a child, a mentally challenged person, an elderly person, or another vulnerable person, the battery may be considered aggravated.
- Sexual Assault and Battery – This offense involves an alleged offender forcing unwelcome sexual contact upon a victim, sometimes with a lethal weapon. This is a common problem in cases of domestic violence.
What is Simple Assault in NC?
Assault and other related crimes are frequently confused by television, cinema, and pop culture. The complicated language used in the assault statute adds to the confusion and misinformation. So, what exactly is a simple assault?
When you’re in a dispute with another person, whether it’s physical or not, there are a variety of accusations that can be brought against you. The assault statutes in North Carolina are important to understand because they spell out exactly what the prosecution must prove in order to convict you. The following are the components of simple assault:
- Words or gestures used with the intent to threaten or inspire fear of harm to another person.
- The victim reasonably feared physical injury as a result of your acts.
- Actual bodily harm to the victim, which could be physical in character but isn’t essential. It may be enough that the victim felt endangered as a result of the circumstances, your words, and your gestures in some cases.
What is Aggravated Assault and Battery?
Aggravated assault and battery in NC is defined as “an unlawful attack by one person on another for the aim of causing severe bodily injury, frequently accompanied by the use of a weapon or other means likely to bring death or significant bodily harm,” according to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Basically, this means injuring or attempting to injure someone with a lethal weapon, such as a gun or a knife. It also entails causing serious personal damage by attacking someone with a part of the body, such as punching or headbutting, and causing serious injury.
If the victim belongs to a protected class, the charges will almost certainly be upgraded to aggravated assault. The following victims may be considered a protected class:
- First responders, such as police officers, firefighters, or EMTs.
- Pregnant women.
- Members of the school staff.
- Someone with a physical or mental disability.
Additionally, when the victim is severely injured during a rape or sexual assault, an aggravated sexual assault charge applies.
What is the Difference Between Battery and Assault?
Any direct, physical touch is deemed a battery. This occurs when one person makes physical contact with another. Assault, on the other hand, is defined as simply verbalizing or acting in a threatening manner. Assault does not entail any physical contact. As a result, you can be charged with assault in North Carolina without even touching someone.
Is Assault and Battery a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
Assault and battery charges in North Carolina can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the crime. For example, a first-time offender for simple assault or battery might anticipate a misdemeanor charge. A second or subsequent conviction will likely still result in a misdemeanor charge, but with harsher sanctions. A conviction for aggravated or sexual assault and battery is frequently classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning it is the most severe of misdemeanor charges.
An assault and battery charge in NC becomes a felony if the act involved a deadly weapon. This includes the more obvious lethal weapons such as guns and knives, but also includes dangerous instruments like baseball bats, hammers, tire irons, pipes, and more. Essentially any object that can be used as a weapon to kill may be classified as a deadly weapon.
There are two levels of assault with a deadly weapon: serious injury and intent to kill. Serious injury entails an injury that requires medical treatment. If the possibility that medical attention may be needed exists, then the charge is defined as serious. Intent to kill means the details pertaining to the charge conclude that the aggressor’s intention was to kill the victim. Threats, both verbal and written, will add to the allegation.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault and battery NC, you should contact an experienced assault and battery defense attorney as quickly as possible for assistance in avoiding the heavy penalties you are facing. We will outline these penalties below.
Penalties for Assault and Battery in NC
As we mentioned, assault and battery NC charges can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. As such, a first-time offender for a misdemeanor simple assault or battery might expect a penalty of up to 30 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, and community service or victim compensation. A second or subsequent conviction will likely result in harsher sanctions, including up to two months in prison. A conviction for aggravated or sexual assault and battery can result in supervised probation, up to 150 days in prison, and substantial fines.
A felony charge of assault and battery NC with a deadly weapon receives a much harsher penalty. In addition to hefty fines and probation periods, penalties may range anywhere from 15 to 98 months imprisonment. The severity of the sentence is typically determined by whether or not a judge or jury believes the accused intended to murder the victim.
Types of Defense for North Carolina Assault Cases
Although these charges are very harshly prosecuted in the state of North Carolina, there are some defenses that may be successful when employed by a skilled assault and battery defense attorney. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may use one of the following defenses:
- Self Defense – This is considered an “affirmative defense” because the defendant acknowledges the event occurred, but only for the sake of self-protection. To establish self-defense, the defendant must show that it was unavoidable, that they were not the aggressor, and that the use of force was appropriate to the circumstances.
- Alibi – The alibi defense is used to establish that the defendant could not have committed the crime because they were not present or because there are witnesses who can attest that the event did not occur.
- Consent – Prior to the act, the “victim” gave his or her approval to the action. The following criteria must be met for consent to be valid:
- The act does not go beyond the amount of consent intended by the party granting consent.
- The person voluntarily participated in the action in which the defendant has been charged.
- The person granting consent must be legally able to do so (mental impairment, age restrictions, etc.).
Contact Jacksonville Assault and Battery Defense Attorney Aden Wilkie Today
If you have been charged with assault and battery or a similar violent felony, it is crucial to your case and your future that you obtain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. Under the representation of North Carolina criminal defense attorney Aden Wilkie, The Wilkie Law Firm will diligently fight for you by either working with the prosecution for a reduced sentence or disputing the prosecution’s evidence and narrative entirely. If you have been charged with this crime, call our office today for a consultation at 910-333-9626.