What You Need to Know About Assault in NC

Just last month, a Charlotte, NC, man attacked three women as they evacuated the Westin Hotel because of an early morning fire alarm. The women thought they were fleeing to safety, but the 23-year-old man had other ideas. The attacks shocked the community because they appeared to be a random act of violence. This man now faces a serious Charlotte assault charge.

Such a case deserves the headlines it received, but few assaults actually make the late local newscasts. Assaults happen every day, and they are rarely newsworthy.

If you’ve been charged with an assault, there are a few things you need to know. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to physically touch someone to commit assault. Just the credible threat will do.

Many other states have different definitions for assault and battery in their laws. North Carolina does not, however. They are lumped together in the same section of the law. So the threat of violence and carrying out a violent act are treated as the same.

Misdemeanor assaults

Misdemeanor offenses are classified in a four-tier system, from Class 1A as the most severe to Class 3 with the lightest penalties. Assaults begin at Class 2. Here are examples of assaults in each category:

  • Class 2 – This type of assault is called simple assault. Threatening someone with violence and getting into a fistfight are examples of simple assault.
  • Class 1 – Don’t get into a physical altercation with an umpire or referee because if the situation escalates to physical contact or even the threat of physical contact, the simple assault gets bumped up to a Class 1.
  • Class 1A – These are the most severe assaults before becoming felonies. Assaults by adult males against females, assaults with a deadly weapon, and assaults against children are common Class 1A assaults.

Felony assaults

As if misdemeanor assaults aren’t bad enough, there are also assaults that qualify for felony charges. Here are some common felony assaults:

  • Assault with serious injury – Say two guys get in a bar fight, and the clear loser of the fight spends two nights in the intensive care unit of a hospital. The winner of the fight can be charged with assault with serious injury, a felony. The loser would be charged with a simple assault, a misdemeanor.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill – Let’s say in the bar fight example above, one of the fighters intentionally breaks a beer bottle on the bar and tries to cut the other man with it. During the fight, this man yells, “I’m going to end you!” Whether the bottle-wielder is successful in cutting his opponent or not, the man can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Had the man not mentioned his intent to kill, the assault likely would be classified as a Class 1A misdemeanor.

Handling your case

Both felony and misdemeanor assaults are serious business. If convicted, these violent crimes stay on your criminal record for life. Jason Reece is an experienced criminal defense attorney with two decades of experience working hard for clients. Don’t just plead guilty. You need an experienced team on your side to help you achieve the best outcome possible.

So if you’re charged with assault in Charlotte, give Jason Reece a call at 704-714-8888, or use this form to schedule a free consultation.