North Carolina law of assault and battery crimes.

Assault and Battery: Differentiating Between Charges and Defenses in North Carolina

In Criminal by Greensboro Attorney

Violent crimes, such as assault and battery, are not dealt with in the same manner. North Carolina law has different interpretations for how these crimes are charged, which can also impact how the defense team will build an argument for anyone charged with these crimes. It is crucial to understand the difference between assault and battery as they are often confused with each other. However, they differ and have varying consequential charges. 

Refer to this guide to find out what the possible charges against assault and battery are in North Carolina, especially if you or someone you know has been wrongfully charged. 

What is an Assault in North Carolina?

Assault is any crime that involves a threat of illegal contact or any threatening action that instills fear in the victim. There is no need for the offender to inflict harm; as long as there is a threat to perform such an action, they could receive an assault charge.

There is a higher level of assault charge as recognized by North Carolina law, which is known as aggravated assault. It is a higher classification of the same charge, which makes it a felony. An aggravated assault involves a bodily attack that causes physical harm or injury to the victim. It is especially true when there is the use of a deadly weapon, such as a knife, during the assault. 

What is Battery in North Carolina?

Battery is another form of violent crime recognized by North Carolina law. It is the act of committing unwanted contact or harm to another person, the victim. It is not limited to contact with the victim’s body as it can also extend to any object that the person carries at the time of the attack, such as their bag or any item in their possession. Additional actions that can be categorized as a form of battery include shoving a person or throwing an object towards them.

Sexual battery is a different category under this violent crime classification. It is when the sexual act toward another person is accompanied by threatening and violent acts that intend to cause harm. 

Distinction between assault and battery in North Carolina.

What are the Differences Between Assault and Battery?

Based on the interpretation of North Carolina law of assault and battery crimes, the offender in both cases can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. The charges and eventual punishment will differ based on the specific details of the crime and extent of injury caused (if applicable). 

Another point of distinction between assault and battery in North Carolina is the presence of injury or harm. Battery involves physical contact, while assault does not. Assault involves threatening to cause harm, and battery is the act of inflicting such harm.

While these technical differences help distinguish one case from the other, it is crucial to know that North Carolina considers them both as “assault.” They are classified during the investigation to determine the exact charges to impose on the guilty party. 

What are the Charges for Assault and Battery in North Carolina?

As already mentioned, assault and battery charges face more or less the same charges. Each crime can be classified as a misdemeanour or felony, depending on the extent of the injury and the damage inflicted on the victim. 

If an individual is charged with a misdemeanor offense for assault or battery, the following penalties apply:

  • 30-day imprisonment (or probation if it’s a first-time offense)
  • 60 days in jail with a penalty of up to $1,000
  • 150 days in jail for assault resulting in injury

Moreover, anyone facing an assault or battery charge could also face a felony offense. Felonies face more serious penalties, including longer prison sentences. You should speak with an experienced assault attorney in Greensboro, NC, to learn more about the specific charges and the appropriate defenses. 

If the assault charge is elevated to aggravated assault, the potential penalties are higher, too. The case qualifies for aggravated assault if any of the following conditions apply:

  • The victim is a female.
  • The victim is below 12 years old.
  • The victim is a government official.
  • The victim is a medical or emergency worker.
  • The victim is a campus official.
  • The assault occurred with a minor present in the vicinity.
  • There was the use of a deadly weapon.

Defense for assault and battery charges.

Defenses for Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are serious crimes; anyone charged with either of these faces serious penalties. It is crucial to speak with an assault and battery attorney if you are facing these charges, as how you respond will shape the future of your case. 

When the police present you with a warrant, and you know you’re innocent, it’s best to maintain your silence. Do not speak with the police or say anything relevant to the case without legal advice from your attorney. Exercise your right to remain silent. 

The next step is to form a defense strategy for your case. Many possible defenses exist for this type of case, such as self-defense. If you can prove that you were under threat and the act was initiated in response to that threat, you can get out of this criminal charge. It is crucial to depict the victim as the attacker and you (the defendant) as the victim. 

Another way to defend an assault or battery charge is to show that you acted to defend others. For example, another individual was attacked, and you responded to defend that individual from their attacker. If this applies to your case, you could fight your charges using this defense.

You could also present an alibi if you believe that you were wrongly accused of assault and battery. An alibi defense supported by evidence and eyewitnesses can be a foolproof defense to this type of case case in North Carolina.

Whatever your defense strategy is for the case, your attorney is responsible for collecting statements and evidence to support your defense. Therefore, you must leave it to the attorney to collect what you need for the case and ensure you can take the best legal response. Otherwise, you could face serious charges and serve a lengthy prison sentence.