Assault charges in North Carolina

Defending Against Assault Charges: Strategies and Legal Considerations in Greensboro

In Criminal by Greensboro Attorney

Have you been charged with assault in North Carolina? If yes, it means that someone believed that you threatened to hurt or harm them in some way. Whether it is with the hands or using a weapon, assault charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. Either way, it can have severe consequences, including jail time and fines. If you are wrongfully accused, it’s crucial to understand how you can defend yourself against such charges. With the help of an expert assault attorney in Greensboro, NC, you can craft the best legal strategy to deliver a favorable outcome.

Possible Defense Strategies Against Assault Charges

Let’s discuss the possible defense strategies you can discuss with an attorney to help you get legal reprieve for a crime you did not commit.


A self-defense strategy is the most common way out of assault (and battery) charges in North Carolina. If it applies to your case, you may use it to clear yourself of the criminal charges. However, presenting self-defense as a strategy requires you to present evidence and proof that there is a need for the accused to defend themselves in the specific scenario.

You may only use a self-defense strategy if any of the following, or all of it, applies to your case:

  1. There was a direct threat of harm against you, forcing you to act upon the other person.
  2. There was a reasonable cause of fear that the other person could bring harm to you.
  3. There must be enough evidence that you did not provoke the other person or instigate conflict.
  4. There was a direct threat to you or those around you, and there are no other means of escaping the situation or preventing confrontation.

While many of these situations may apply to your case, there is still weight on the accused (you) to show that the level of violence caused towards the other person is proportional to the level of threat present in that particular situation. This aspect is more challenging to prove in court because it can be interpreted subjectively.

Therefore, even if it was determined that you acted in self-defense, the other party could argue that the level of violence was significantly larger than the threat. There are additional limitations to using the self-defense strategy in court. For example, if the accused is a male and the accuser is a female. It would be difficult for the male to claim self-defense when they are physically more threatening than the accuser, which is the female.

You need a skilled and experienced assault attorney to navigate this defense strategy. Furthermore, they can help you pinpoint potential evidence you can use to support your self-defense strategy.

Defense of Others

Aside from self-defense, another common defense strategy against assault charges involves defense of others. This strategy is similar to self-defense, except that you are not directly in threat but other people are. For example, you witness an individual harassing or threatening to cause harm to another individual who is incapable of defending themselves. If you stepped in to defend others, you can use that strategy to have your assault charges dismissed.

Again, you must prove that there was a reasonable cause for causing harm or threatening another individual. You need evidence and eyewitness accounts to support your defense. Meanwhile, it is crucial to show that the situation necessitated the violence used.

Defense against assault charges in North Carolina

Defense of Property

When facing assault charges, the defense of property is valid against the accused party. This defense strategy posits that you have to act with violence on another individual or group of individuals as they pose a direct threat to your property. One example is a home invasion (or attempt at home invasion). 

There are North Carolina laws that govern these types of cases, so it is best to consult with your attorney when using this defense. However, the fundamental human right is to defend one’s property or home. It is different, though, when it involves personal property. The law does not always dictate that the owner can use physical force or inflict harm on others to retrieve that property. Again, it is based on a subjective interpretation of the law and how your attorney can present your case that will determine if your charges will be dismissed.


It is a rare defense strategy but can apply to specific circumstances. You can use consent as a strategy when you’ve caused harm to another person if they consented to it. For example, you participate in an activity that results in causing harm to another person. You can defend your innocence, claiming that the person who agreed to and consented to participate in such an activity was fully aware of the possible dangers and risk of being injured. 

It is a tricky defense strategy, unless it is the only strategy available. The court may honor your defense but still insist on pursuing the charge. However, your defense strategy can help reduce your penalty for committing the crime.

Consult an assault attorney.

Preparing for Your Defense: What to Consider

The most critical step in preparing your defense is to consult with your attorney. You should only file a statement or counter-affidavit with your lawyer’s approval or recommendation. 

That said, the next thing you should do is to analyze your charges. Study the elements of your offense and potential loopholes in the law that you can use to your advantage. However, it’s worth noting that you should only use this strategy if you are innocent and were wrongfully accused of the assault charges. 

Next, gather witnesses or evidence that can support your defense strategy. The more witnesses and evidence you have to support your claim, the stronger your defense case will be. Ask the witnesses if they would like to testify on your behalf. 

Once you have this, you can discuss your defense strategy with your attorney. If you cannot get your case dismissed, you can try to lower your penalties. This result is highly possible for the first two defense strategies (self-defense and defense of others). 

In addition, it also helps if you avoid any brushes with the law while your assault charges are under investigation. Good conduct and a lack of criminal history can help your case as you maintain your innocence.