What Is Assault and What Are the Penalties

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Assault is a crime that involves committing violence or threatening to commit violence against another person. Most North Carolina assault crimes are misdemeanors, and the severity of the punishment will depend on how seriously the victim was injured, whether a deadly weapon was involved, and whether the victim was a member of a protected class.

If you are facing assault charges in North Carolina, experienced legal representation is crucial. North Carolina criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe has extensive experience defending people who have been charged with assault. During your initial meeting, Mr. Stowe will ask questions to learn about your case and offer advice on how to proceed. Then he will conduct an independent investigation into the facts and circumstances that led to your arrest. Mr. Stowe will represent you in any pre-trial hearings, file motions to dismiss and motions to suppress evidence, and, if necessary, will represent you at trial.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the least serious criminal offense that involves unlawfully touching or threatening to harm another person. Assault occurs when you touch someone without their consent or threaten to cause bodily harm to another person with the immediate capacity to carry out the threat.

A first-time assault and battery charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail. If you have prior assault charges, you could face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Assault that Results in Serious Injury

When an assault results in serious injury, it is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 150 in jail, and a fine at the judge’s discretion. While serious injury is not defined by statute, any injury that requires medical attention could be sufficient to result in assault charges. The victim does not need to actually seek medical care; it is enough that the injury is serious enough that medical attention could be necessary.

Use of a Deadly Weapon

When an assault involves the use of a deadly weapon, it is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor. A deadly weapon is any object that could be used to kill someone. Common examples of deadly weapons include guns, knives, and blunt objects. But anything that could be used to kill a person can be considered a deadly weapon, including a belt, a broken bottle, or a heavy object like a bat.

Domestic Violence

An assault committed against someone with whom the defendant has a “personal relationship” can be marked as domestic violence. A “personal relationship” includes a spouse, child, grandparent, grandchild, former spouse, people who live together as a family, and people who have dated one another or have children together.

The minor child must live with or be in the care of the defendant and must have a personal relationship with the defendant.

Domestic violence is a Class A1 misdemeanor.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is defined as any sexual contact or physical contact committed for sexual purposes that is done with force and against the victim’s will. Sexual battery also includes sexual contact with a victim who is mentally disabled, physically helpless, or otherwise incapacitated where the defendant knows or should know of the victim’s disability.

Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor and a conviction will result in mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Members of a Protected Class

A simple assault can be elevated to a Class A1 misdemeanor if the victim is in a class of protected individuals. This includes women over the age of 18, children under the age of 12, and state officials who are conducting official business, including public, private, and charter school employees who are on school property, at a school event, or transporting children.

Contact the Stowe Law Firm, PLLC for Defense Against North Carolina Assault Charges

Based in Salisbury, North Carolina, the Stowe Law Firm defends people facing assault charges throughout North Carolina. Criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe will carefully analyze the circumstances of your arrest and prepare a strong legal defense to protect your rights and minimize the likelihood of a conviction.

The Stowe Law Firm proudly represents people in and around Salisbury, North Carolina, and throughout Rowan County, Cabarrus County, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.