There are many misconceptions regarding assault crimes in North Carolina. Simply put, if you are accused of hurting someone in an altercation or simply threatening and causing a person to fear for their safety, you may face criminal charges. Simple assault or simple assault and battery is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. This may not seem very serious, but you do not want an assault conviction or any violent crime on your record. They are violent crimes and carry a serious mark on your record, potentially affecting employment, promotions, child custody, government benefits, etc.
NEVER plead guilty just to get things over with and hope for the best. Instead, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss all your options. In every case, you have the right to defend yourself against these charges and fight for the best possible outcome.
Take misdemeanor assault charges seriously from the start. Call (910) 763–3339, send a text, or reach out online for a free consultation. Attorney Thom Goolsby will discuss your situation, explain your options, and walk you through what comes next.
What is Assault & What is Battery?
Assault and battery are often discussed together but are technically two different things. Whether you commit an assault, a battery, or both, you may face misdemeanor charges. North Carolina lumps these actions into NCGS section 14-33.
Simple battery is what most people think of regarding a physical confrontation or fight. A battery, though the definition can vary by jurisdiction, is the intentional, harmful, or offensive touching of another without permission. A battery requires you to make contact with a victim willfully.
The offensive touching of a battery does not have to cause harm or leave a mark to be considered criminal. You can be charged with battery if you are accused of shoving someone to the ground. The victim may suffer no visible injuries, but the offensive touching took place, nonetheless.
Battery in North Carolina is also known as an affray. Specifically, an affray is when you and at least one other person get into a physical fight in public. If you were to get into a fistfight outside of a bar, this would be an affray.
Assault is the intentional threat or attempt to cause a harmful or offensive touching. It often precedes a battery or an attempted battery. If you are accused of assault, the prosecutor may seek to prove you exhibited threatening behavior that placed the victim in reasonable fear of imminent harm. Simple assault can be verbal threats or physical conduct.
Simple assault examples are:
- Throwing a punch at another person, but they dodge and avoid contact.
- Yelling, “I’m going to cut you!” while brandishing a knife.
- Yelling, “I’m going to get you” while running after a person.
If you are facing an assault or assault and battery charge in North Carolina, remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. A prosecutor must establish the elements of an assault crime beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be convicted. By working with a simple assault lawyer, you can provide a strong defense that establishes doubt on the prosecutor’s claims.
North Carolina Simple Assault Charges
Simple assault, simple assault and battery, or a simple affray are charged as Class 2 misdemeanors. The punishment for a simple assault, if convicted, depends on your criminal history and the judge’s discretion.
Based on North Carolina’s Misdemeanor Punishment Chart, a Class 2 misdemeanor sentence may be:
- Prior Conviction Level I (no prior convictions): One-30 days of community punishment.
- Prior Conviction Level II (one to four prior convictions): One-45 days of community or intermediate punishment.
- Prior Conviction Level III (Five or more prior convictions): One-60 days of community, intermediate, or active punishment.
You should talk with a criminal defense attorney about the possible sentence you face for a first-time assault charge or a subsequent offense, including ways to avoid jail time and strict probation conditions.
Other Types of Assault
Assault charges can quickly rise to more serious misdemeanor charges.
If you are accused of committing an assault, assault and battery, or affray against an official at a sporting event, you will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
You can also be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor if you commit an assault, assault and battery, or affray, and you:
- Inflict serious injury on another person or use a deadly weapon;
- Are a man over the age of 18 years and assault a woman;
- Assault a child under the age of 12 years;
- Assault an officer or employee of the state;
- Assault a school employee or volunteer who is discharging their duties;
- Assault a public transit operator who is discharging their duties; or
- Assault a company police officer or campus police officer who is performing their duties.
Habitual Misdemeanor Assault
If you have been in trouble for assault or assault and battery before, you need to talk with a criminal defense lawyer right away. Your current charge may trigger North Carolina’s habitual misdemeanor assault statute (NCGS §14-33.2).
You can face Class H felony charges if you cause physical injury, violate NCGS §14-34, and you have two or more prior convictions for either misdemeanor or felony assault within the past 15 years.
How to Beat a Simple Assault Charge
To defend yourself against simple assault, assault and battery, or affray charges, you should talk with Attorney Thom Goolsby right away. As a veteran trial attorney, Thom has nearly 30 years of legal experience in Wilmington, NC, and has tried hundreds of criminal cases.
It is possible to have simple assault charges dropped or dismissed. This usually takes a thorough examination of the facts and discussing the case with the prosecutor. Your attorney can then negotiate or file a motion to dismiss that clearly shows there is not enough evidence to convict you.
If the assault case moves forward, you need to prepare to present a defense at trial. Attorney Thom Goolsby understands that there are usually reasonable explanations for most assault charges. You may have been defending yourself or another person or merely trying to keep someone away from you. You may have said something in the heat of the moment, but you lacked any intent to harm the other person.
Call a Simple Assault Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested or accused of assault, the best things you can do are remain silent and not answer any questions and immediately contact a highly experienced and successful criminal defense attorney. Let Attorney Thom Goolsby scrutinize your case and devise the strongest possible defense. He believes in fighting assault charges to obtain the best possible outcome, which may be an acquittal or the minimum consequences upon conviction. If you do not fight, your story does not get told.
“I lost my carry concealed permit due to the misapplication of the law by law enforcement. My guns were taken from my home, and my permit was suspended. Thank you Thom Goolsby for standing up for the Second Amendment and my gun rights. You corrected the mistake of law enforcement, and I got my permit back. I appreciate your skill and advocacy.”- Criminal Defense Client
“Thank you for walking me through the process for getting my open container and underage possession of alcohol charges dismissed. You arranged for a very simple deferred prosecution. It was easy to comply, and my record is now clean. I appreciate your excellent help!”- Criminal Defense Client
I am so happy I hired him. I was charged with drug and paraphernalia possession. As a college student, I could not have these convictions on my record. I am so thankful I had Senator Goolsby representing me. He went into court, worked out a wonderful solution, and my charges were dropped.- Criminal Defense Client
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Like any quality criminal defense attorney, Thom Goolsby may be in court when you first call, but leave a voice mail or send a text. We’ll get with you as soon as possible, so we can go over what happened, evaluate the case, and explain what comes next.