North Carolina Assault and Battery Lawyers
Firm defends your rights when facing allegations of violence in New Bern and Morehead City
If you are facing assault and battery charges, you need capable and determined defense representation. Carolina Law Group, headed by attorney Tommy Kellis, can provide aggressive defense to minimize the fallout of your arrest. We are proven trial lawyers, who protect your rights throughout the process and work for the most favorable resolution possible.
What is the difference between assault and battery?
Under North Carolina Law, a person commits assault by making a threat of physical violence in a way that creates a reasonable fear of following through on the threat. You don’t have to make physical contact with someone to be charged with assault. A battery charge, however, requires unwanted physical contact, which does not have to result in bodily harm.
Are assault and battery charges felonies or misdemeanors in North Carolina?
Whether any offense is a felony or misdemeanor generally depends on the degree of actual or potential harm. An offender can commit assault by yelling at a victim from across the street or waving a loaded gun in their face. The level of an assault or battery charge can also depend on the identity of the victim, since certain classes of people such as juveniles, judges and law enforcement officers enjoy special protection under this law.
Possible penalties for assault and battery charges
Depending on the severity of an assault or battery charge, penalties can vary. Here are a few examples of offenses and penalties:
- Simple assault — This type of threat is a Class 2 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail for a first conviction.
- Simple affray — If you get into a fight in public that puts others in fear for their safety, you could be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
- Assault causing serious bodily injury — If you harm someone seriously, authorities can charge you with a Class F felony, which can result in up to 59 months in prison.
- Assault by strangulation — This choking offense is often charged as a Class H felony with a maximum penalty of 39 months in prison, but is a Class F felony if the choking causes serious injury.
- Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill — If the prosecution can prove the many elements of this charge, it is a Class C felony, with a maximum sentence of 231 months in prison. If prosecutors can’t prove the intent element, it’s still a Class E felony, drawing up to 88 months in prison.
- Assault with a deadly weapon — Without intent or serious injury, the offense is a Class A1 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of 150 days in jail.
Faced with such serious sentences, you need to retain the finest legal representation you can find.
Possible assault and battery defenses
A person accused of assault or battery may have several viable defenses, including:
- Self-defense — You have the right to use deadly force if you have a reasonable fear of serious bodily harm.
- Defense of a third party — You are permitted to use force in order to aid an innocent person who is being attacked.
- Defense of property — You may use reasonable force to protect your property.
- Lack of intent — Idle threats do not constitute assault.
- Mutual combat — A person who agrees to fight you cannot complain of battery.
- Consent — To be charged as battery, the contact in question must be unwanted.
Each of these defenses is technical and limited, so you should consult an experienced attorney before asserting an affirmative defense.
Contact an accomplished North Carolina criminal defense lawyer about assault charges
The Carolina Law Group helps North Carolina clients fight assault and battery charges. Please call 252-636-3737 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our New Bern or Morehead City location.