How Is Assault Defined In North Carolina?

In North Carolina, an assault is any harmful or offensive touching. The range is pretty wide – it could be as simple as the accused grabbing someone in a way that is offensive to them, to violent assault that results in grave injury.

I had a male client charged for assault for slapping a girl on the behind in a bar. I have seen a violent assault, where somebody was punched in the mouth resulting in injury. I’ve encountered plenty of witnessed assaults where someone simply drew back on someone as if to hit them, and put that person in fear which is also considered assault.  Any kind of offensive touching or threat therein can be classified as assault.

Assault in North Carolina can be something as low level as a simple assault, which is a class III misdemeanor. Assaults can be of a very serious nature such as assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury, assault on children, or the elderly, and any number of other violent crimes related to harming someone with a fist, arm, foot, metal bar, an automobile, gun, or any number of things.


Does An Alleged Victim Have To Be Injured For Assault Charges To Be Made?

No, there is no requirement of showing injury for an assault charge. However, injury does tend to escalate the charges, and make for a more serious one at that. With the lowest level of an assault, an assault charge requires, at minimum, that the accuser was in some way subjected to harmful, offensive touching, or the fear of one.

What Circumstances Can Aggravate An Assault Charge In North Carolina?

The more harm that is done to aggravate the victim as well as the device, or implement used to initiate the assault (knife, firearm, etc.) the more elevated the charge will be. If a knife or firearm was involved, the charge will likely increase to a higher level crime, many times a felony.

Does The Intent Of The Alleged Perpetrator Impact The Assault Charge?

Intent can have an effect on the charge, but typically, impact on the assault charge to the degree of aggravated assault has to do with the type of weapon, or implement used as well as the amount of injuries. You can actually assault someone in our state, and not have the specific intent of assaulting him or her, but because of criminal negligence, or gross conduct, be charged with assault.

Does The Degree Of Injury Impact An Assault Charge?

Yes, the degree of injury does affect an assault charge. The more someone is injured, the more likely the charge will be elevated to a felony or other charge.

What Are The Potential Defense Strategies Used In Assault Cases?

In our state, self-defense is the best defense to an assault, unless of course they have charged the wrong person, which I see happen on occasion. For instance, if the assault occurred in a bar, or on a dark street late at night, and the accuser literally mistook my client for another person. But, again, the defense I use most often in assault cases is self-defense. Total defense can be claimed if the force used was of a reasonable nature, and if a reasonable person would have felt threatened by the actions of the person that was the perpetrator.

What Are The Penalties Associated With An Assault Conviction?

For a simple assault, it can be no more than a fine of up to $250 for the first three offenses. For major assaults, it can be decades in jail.

What Are The Long Term Effects Of An Assault Conviction?

The problem you have with assault is that they are considered violent crimes. North Carolina reserves prison space for violent criminals, and pursues assault charges with great vigor. Violent crimes are given the highest priority, higher than property crimes, higher than drug crimes. So, they are of the highest priority for prosecutors as well.

Additional Information Regarding Assault Cases In North Carolina

Assault cases are usually fact-driven, and facts are extremely important. Having an attorney who has tried hundreds of these cases can be very helpful, because your attorney’s ability to elicit truthful, and appropriate responses from other parties, bystanders, particularly when self-defense is your defense in the case, is very important, so the outcome is in your favor.

For more information on Assault Charges In North Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (910) 782-2156 today.