Defending Clients Against Assault and Battery Charges in Raleigh
Assault and battery is a legal term referring to one party deliberately causing physical harm to another person. While most states separate assault charges (a credible threat of violence against another) and battery charges (the act of injury-causing violence), the North Carolina General Statute has combined the two offenses, and they both fall under assault charges.
If you are charged with assault, particularly where another party was injured or is a member of a protected population such as children, the disabled, or first responders, having an experienced attorney on your side is essential. At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we have over 60 years of combined legal experience both as criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh and also in the Wake County District Attorney’s Office as prosecutors. This gives us the insight needed to create effective defense strategies and more successfully advocate for our clients.
When you need experienced legal representation against charges of assault and battery, call us 24/7 at (919) 887-8040 to speak with an attorney.
Understanding Assault and Battery
In North Carolina, most assault and battery offenses fall under what is termed simple assault. Simple assault includes:
- Display of force that shows a credible threat of violence, like raising a fist or getting up in someone’s face;
- Inflicting a minor or non-life threatening injury in an act of battery;
- Public fighting, called an affray;
Generally, unless the victim is a part of a protected population or the defendant has prior convictions, charges of simple assault are a Class 2 misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
Assault and Battery Against Protected Populations
If the alleged offense is against specific victims, the penalties are often more severe. Committing assault and battery against these populations elevates the charge to a Class A1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 150 days in jail.
- Women (when the alleged assailant is a male over the age of 18);
- Child under the age of 12;
- School employee or volunteer;
- Public transit operator;
- A Police Officer;
Simple assault is elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor against sports officials, including referees, umpires, and coaches, including those working in Little League and school sports.
Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon
If the defendant is accused of using a deadly weapon, such as a knife, gun, or blunt object, and the victim is seriously injured, he or she will be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Felony Assault and Battery
While some assault and battery cases are misdemeanors, there are times in which more serious allegations lead to felony charges.
Assaults on Individuals with Disabilities
Assault and battery against a person with either physical or cognitive disabilities is seen as especially serious, and the charges reflect this. Abuse of, or assault and battery on a disabled adult is a Class H felony, or, if the injury is serious or a deadly weapon was used to inflict injury, the charge is a Class F felony.
Serious Bodily Injury
If an individual sustains serious bodily injury from the alleged assault and battery, they will be charged with a Class F felony, punishable by up to 41 months in prison. A serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that “ creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious permanent disfigurement, coma, a permanent or protracted condition that causes extreme pain, or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or that results in prolonged hospitalization.”
Habitual Assault and Battery
If a person has two convictions of either misdemeanor or felony assault within 15 years of being charged with a third assault, the third charge can be elevated to a Class H felony, which is punishable by up to 25 months in prison.
Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Charges Related to Assault and Battery
Assault laws in North Carolina are complicated, with dozens of factors affecting the charges and possible punishments. However, even a Class 2 misdemeanor, the least severe charge, can lead to long term impacts on your life, preventing you from getting hired or renting a home.
Working with an experienced, dedicated defense attorney is key to getting a more favorable result in your case. At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we know you need an ally who you can rely on to be focused on your case and dedicated to your best interests. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the form below or call us at (919) 887-8040 to speak with an attorney 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.