simple assault lawyer Greensboro, NC

Simple Assault Lawyer

What is a Simple Assault?

This is a question our simple assault lawyers receive all the time and it begs the question, is a simple assault really all that simple? For starters a Simple Assault is a Class 2 Misdemeanor and in North Carolina misdemeanors run from Class 3, which is the lowest, all the way to Class A1.

Elements of Simple Assault:

  1. Commits an Assault
  2. On Another

In North Carolina, Simple Assault covers both assaults and batteries.

Assault is not defined by statute or by the legislature in North Carolina but rather is defined by Common Law. When most people think about an assault, they’re thinking about a battery which is someone uses force against another, for instance, one person hitting another. An assault is actually a show of force that would put a reasonable person in fear of immediate harm or that would cause a person to change what they’re doing as a result of their actions. Confusing? Yeah, but let’s try to make this as simple as possible moving forward.

In North Carolina, a Battery is an assault.

What is a Simple Assault or Battery?

A Battery is an Assault where some force of any sort is used against another person directly or indirectly. We know, this is the standard way we think of an assault. Punching someone else in North Carolina is a battery and is a simple assault in North Carolina. Grabbing a person’s jacket when they’re wearing it is also an assault in North Carolina. This form of assault doesn’t require the person to be placed in any type of fear, but rather just requires force or some sort of offensive, non-permitted contact with another person either directly, hitting them, or indirectly, throwing a rock that hits the person.

What is the Difference between a Battery and an Assault?

Both batteries and assaults are termed assault in North Carolina. But let’s look at how an assault is actually defined in the common law so we have a better understanding of the different ways a simple assault can be committed in North Carolina. An Assault is typically a situation where one person puts another person in fear of immediate harm. No contact, but places the person in fear. Simple Assault Lawyer Greensboro, NC break down the versions of assault.

Simple Assault Lawyer

North Carolina recognizes two forms of Assault:

  1. An Overt Act, or Display of Force that puts a Reasonable Person in Fear of an Immediate Physical Injury. It’s important to note that the standard is not that the victim of the assault needs to be in fear of the immediate bodily harm, but rather, the actions would cause a Reasonable Person to be in fear of immediate bodily harm.
    1. An example of this would be two people get into an argument. A person raises their fist to hit the person. A reasonable person would probably be in fear of immediate bodily harm, however, as the law goes, even if the victim says they weren’t in fear of immediate bodily harm, the person who raised their fist could still be guilty of simple assault because the standard is would a reasonable person be in fear of immediate bodily harm? Most judges in Guilford County however, would side with the person charged or defendant if they only raise their fist.
  2. The second type of assault is by a show of violence. This form of assault can occur in a number of different circumstances:
    1. Person shows apparent ability to inflict injury
    2. Person acts in a way that a reasonable person would fear harm
    3. The person acts in a way that causes someone to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do but for the other persons act, ie person runs around a person acting wild as if to hit them.

Can I get jail time for a Simple Assault?

The short answer is yes, jail time is possible. However, this will first depend on your record level for misdemeanor sentencing purposes. Our simple assault attorneys in Greensboro, NC, are typically able to keep our clients from spending time in jail as a result of a simple assault charge. The maximum sentence for a simple assault which is a class 2 misdemeanor is 60 days. But that’s if you have the worst record level possible for misdemeanor sentencing purposes. A first offender can get up to 30 days in jail, but only after some violation of a probationary period. A person who is a level 2 for misdemeanor sentencing purposes can get up to 45 days in jail. So, the short answer is yes, but it depends on your prior record and the circumstances surrounding the case.

Can a Simple Assault result in a Domestic Hold?

Simple assault is what a female is typically charged with if an assault takes place in a domestic relationship. Men are charged with assault on a female, but North Carolina does not have a charge for assault on a male, and therefore most law enforcement agencies will charge a female with simple assault if they assault someone in a domestic relationship. Important to note, that a charge of simple assault can result in a domestic hold and confinement for a period of up to 48 hours without a bond. Our assault lawyers in Greensboro, NC are extremely knowledgeable in this area and are prepared to help you and your family when you need us most. Interesting to note, assault on a female is a Class A1 misdemeanor the highest level misdemeanor you can be charged with, however, simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor which is the second lowest misdemeanor. To learn more about assault on a female cases and domestic holds click here: assault on a female lawyer

Can I be Charged with Aiding and Abetting a Simple Assault?

Yes, you certainly can be. For instance, a parent of a child who assaults another child can be charged with aiding and abetting simple assault. If the parent is there when the assault takes place and does nothing to prevent or stop the assault, they can be charged with aiding and abetting the assault.

Is there such a thing as an Attempted Assault in North Carolina?

There’s no such thing as an attempted assault. An attempted assault, if you look above at the definition of the assault, would be termed an assault as long as it involved an overt act, meaning raising your fist and a reasonable person was put in fear of immediate physical harm.

Can I be Charged with Two Assaults for the Same Incident?

No, you cannot be charged twice, or better yet you shouldn’t be. Honestly, law enforcement may charge you twice, but the law states that it must be two distinct situations for a person to be charged with assault twice. There’s a major difference between being charged and then being convicted of a crime. But we know, this begs the question what makes two assaults distinct situations? Punching a person and then hitting them again during the same fight, is one assault. However, if you’re fighting punch the person a couple of times, the person falls over, you pull out a knife and then stab the person, these assaults are distinctly different and can be charged with two separate counts of simple assault.