A conviction for an assault charge will result in a violence-related misdemeanor or felony on your criminal record – something you want to avoid at all costs. This can make it difficult to get a job, receive financial aid for school, and even rent an apartment.
If you are facing accusations of an assaulting another person, you need to understand the state’s definitions of assault-related offenses and how mitigating circumstances can raise its severity from a low-level misdemeanor to a serious felony. The more you know about your charges and how assault cases are handled, the more likely you are to have your charges reduced or prove your innocence in court. Working with an assault lawyer from Breeden Law Office also increases your chances of a positive outcome and moving on with your life.
To learn more about what you are up against, call North Carolina criminal defense attorney Jonathan Breeden today at (919) 661-4970.
Under North Carolina law, simple assault is the most basic assault-related offense you can commit. Simple assault constitutes the unlawful touching of another person or performing a show of violence, meaning to threaten another person. It is important to understand this definition of assault because unlike what you might think, simple assault does not require that you ever actually make contact with another person or that the other person suffers an injury. Simply threatening to hit someone can be enough to constitute a crime.
You always hear of assault and battery together; however, they were previously two different crimes. Assault constituted the threat and fear of bodily injury while battery was the actual harmful touching of another. In North Carolina, you will be charged with assault and battery if there is evidence you physically injured another person.
North Carolina distinguishes between assault, assault and battery, and affray. This may be a new term to you, but specifically, an affray is a fight between two or more people in a public place that probably frightens others. You can also think of it as a public fight that disturbs the peace.
If you are charged with simple assault, assault and battery or affray and the other person was not hurt or only had minor injuries, you will usually face a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, or 60 days if you have a prior conviction. You can also be fined up to $1,000.
However, the charge can be elevated to a higher misdemeanor if the other person suffered more serious injuries, you had a deadly weapon, or the victim is a protected class like the elderly or a female. A Class A1 misdemeanor can lead to up to 120 days in jail and a fine.
An assault can quickly rise to the level of a felony if it causes serious bodily injury or you used a deadly weapon during the incident. If you assaulted another person and caused them serious bodily injury, then you will likely be charged with a Class F felony, punishable by 10 to 41 months in prison. If you used a deadly weapon during an assault and caused serious injury, then you will probably face a Class E felony, punishable by 15 to 63 months in prison.
While simple assault is the most minor and basic assault-related offense in North Carolina, felonious assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill that causes serious bodily injury is the most serious. If there is evidence that you used a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife during the assault, that you intended to kill the victim of the assault, and the victim suffered serious bodily injury, then you will face a Class C felony, punishable by a minimum of 44 to 182 months in prison. A violent assault worse than this will be charged as attempted homicide.
In North Carolina, domestic violence can include stalking, threats, trespassing, or assault upon your spouse, former spouse, a current romantic partner you live with, or former romantic partner you previously lived with. It can also include an assault against someone you have a personal relationship with, which includes spouses, live-in romantic partners, children, grandchildren, and other family members you live with.
If you are a man and are accused of assaulting a woman, the offense is known as an assault on a female. This is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, the highest misdemeanor offense. This is a more serious charge than if you are a woman accused of assaulting a man. In that case, you will usually be charged with simple assault, unless there are other circumstances.
Domestic violence, if it leads to serious bodily injury or a deadly weapon is involved, will lead to felony charges.
If you are facing assault charges, you and your attorney should analyze your situation compared to the law and determine the strongest defenses available. One potential defense is that you acted in self-defense for yourself or another person. In this case, you may provide evidence that you acted just enough to avoid injury to yourself or another.
You might be able to argue that there has been a mistake in identifying you as the offender. It is possible that you have been accused of a crime you were never involved with. Your attorney will present evidence to the court that you were somewhere else at the time of the assault and you could not possibly be the offender.
You may also argue that you had consent to act as you did. For instance, you and another person may have willingly entered into a physical challenge that you both knew could result in injuries.
Facing any assault-related offense in North Carolina is certainly a daunting experience for anyone. After all, your reputation and freedom are at stake. To effectively protect your rights and avoid being labeled a violent offender, you will need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer to review your situation and craft the strongest possible defense.
If you have been charged with an assault crime, there is no time to waste. Call North Carolina criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Breeden from Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970.
We can meet with you at our Garner, Smithfield, or Angier office to discuss your charges, rights, and legal options.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 661-4970