In our state, we have three main types of assault offenses:
- Assault and battery: causing physical injury to another person
- Assault: attempting to commit an assault and battery, or showing force that implies an assault and battery is forthcoming
- Affray: a fight between two or more people that frightens others
While assault is generally a misdemeanor offense, there are certain factors – including the identity of the victim – that could elevate the offense to a more serious misdemeanor, or even a felony.
Let’s look at the different assault charges here in North Carolina and how your charge could change depending on who the victim was.
North Carolina Assault Offenses By Victim
Class 2 misdemeanor. Simple assault and simple assault and battery is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 1-30 days in jail.
Class 1 misdemeanor. If a person commits an assault and battery against a sports official during his official duties at a sports event or immediately after the sports event, he will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 1-45 days in jail.
Class A1 misdemeanor. A person can be charged with an A1 misdemeanor, punishable by 1-60 days in jail, if he commits an assault, assault and battery, or affray and:
- Assaults a female if he is a male of at least 18 years of age
- Assaults a child under 12 years old
- Assaults an employee or officer of the State when that person is in an official capacity
- Assaults a school employee or school volunteer while they are performing their professional duties
- Assaults a public transit operator
- Assaults a company or campus police officer
- Assaults a handicapped person
- Inflicts serious injury upon another person, or uses a deadly weapon on a person with whom he has a personal relationship and in the presence of a minor
Class I felony. A person can be charged with a Class I felony, punishable by 4-6 months, if he commits an assault or affray causing physical injury against:
- An emergency medical technician or health care provider
- A medical responder
- Hospital personnel and licensed healthcare providers who are providing or attempting to provide health care services to a patient in a hospital
- A firefighter
- A law enforcement officer, probation officer, or parole officer while the officer is conducting his official duties
- An employee at a State or local detention facility while the employee is performing their official duties.
- A member of the North Carolina National Guard
Aggravating Factors Can Further Elevate Assault Charges
On top of who the victim was, certain aggravating factors can further elevate an assault charge.
A simple assault charge can be raised to an aggravated assault charge if:
- The offender uses a deadly weapon or other means of force likely to inflict serious injury or serious damage.
- The offender inflicts serious injury or serious damage.
- The offender intends to kill.
For example, a simple assault against a handicapped person is a Class A1 misdemeanor, but an aggravated assault against a handicapped person is a Class F felony punishable by 13-16 months.
Fighting North Carolina Assault Charges
As you can see, our state takes assault seriously. Don’t let your assault charge, regardless of who the alleged victim was, ruin your life. Reach out to an experienced North Carolina assault defense attorney today to discuss your case and determine the best course of action to beat your charges.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett?is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of?Schlosser & Pritchett?and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense.? He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.