Navigating an Assault Charge in North Carolina

Assault can be defined as a threat to use violence against someone. Under North Carolina's assault laws, a charge of assault applies when an attempt is made to commit assault and battery, or an offender uses a display of force to show that assault and battery are probable—a Class 2 misdemeanor.

A charge of assault and battery occurs when an individual causes physical injury to someone else. The charge is also normally a Class 2 misdemeanor, with the same penalties as an assault conviction. Even though North Carolina lawmakers define assault differently from assault and battery, they are charged following the same guidelines.

Assault Laws and Penalties in North Carolina

The assault laws and penalties in North Carolina are in depth and open to interpretation. Whether you've been charged with assault or assault and battery, an assault defense attorney can minimize aggravating factors that can contribute to more serious charges:

  • Serious Injury

If the act of assault or assault and battery causes injury that requires medical care, it is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor.

  • Use of a Deadly Weapon

Any object that can be used to cause death is considered a deadly weapon by the courts—though North Carolina assault laws don't define deadly weapons. Using a deadly weapon during assault or assault and battery is also a Class A1 misdemeanor.

  • Domestic Violence

This offense is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor and defined as an act of violence or the threat of violence between those who have a “personal relationship” according to the statutes:

  • Spouse or former spouse

  • Dating partner

  • Parent of your child

  • Child under 18 and in the defendant’s care

  • Grandchild

  • Household member

  • Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is defined as contact by force intended for sexual reasons, committed against the will of the victim. A sexual battery offense is a Class A1 misdemeanor.

  • Victims with Special Protections

If the victim of assault or assault and battery falls into one of the following categories, the assault charges escalate to a Class A1 misdemeanor.

  • Women AND the defendant is a male over 18

  • Children under 12 years of age

  • School employees and volunteers on school property, driving school transportation, or during school events

  • State employees and officers on duty

  • Public transportation operators on duty

  • Security officers on duty

Assault and Battery Penalties in North Carolina


Class 2 Misdemeanor

A first-time offense can mean up to 30 days in jail and a probation sentence. Repeat offenses can mean a maximum of 60 days in jail. Any conviction may also carry a fine of up to $1,000.

Class 1 Misdemeanor

A first-time offense could mean up to 45 days in jail and a probation sentence. Repeat offenses could mean a maximum of 120 days in jail. The court may issue a fine in any amount of their choosing.

Class A1 Misdemeanor

A first-time offense will cause jail time up to 60 days. This charge also calls for probation or supervised probation. Subsequent offenses can carry a sentence of a maximum 150 days in prison. The court may issue a fine in any amount of their choosing.

North Carolina Assault and Battery Defense


North Carolina's assault laws are complex, and it takes a seasoned assault defense attorney to navigate the best course for the best outcome. Here are some defenses that have been used effectively in the past:

  • You acted in defense of others.

  • You acted in self-defense.

  • You acted out of necessity.

  • You did not possess intent.

  • You have an alibi.

  • You were falsely accused.

  • The alleged victim has no proof of injury.

  • You were voluntarily intoxicated.

  • You were mentally incapacitated.

If you or someone you know is charged with assault or assault and battery in North Carolina, let a criminal attorney take control of your case. Contact the Law Offices of Jason H. Reece in Charlotte, North Carolina, and find out how we can help.