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Defending Your Home Turf

A Fayetteville couple protected themselves against a home invasion assault with help from a frying pan.

Glen Tew said he and his wife awoke shortly before midnight to find someone coming through their living room glass door. Mr. Tew said he scuffled with the intruder until his wife tossed him a frying pan, which was the closest weapon she could find. “I proceeded to give him a good dose of that,” Mr. Tew recalled. Earlier that evening, the 21-year-old assailant had allegedly assaulted a woman in a church parking lot; he reportedly fled after the woman withdrew a pistol from her handbag and fired two shots.

As for Mr. Tew’s frying pan, “the bottom is a little messed up, but I expect I can hammer it back down.”

Misdemeanor Assault

There are three types of assault in North Carolina criminal law, and they are generally charged as Class 2 misdemeanors, assuming that the injuries sustained do not require a doctor’s care:

  • Assault: This offense is either an attempted battery (striking) or a convincing show of force.
  • Assault and Battery: This offense requires physical contact, though not necessarily physical injury.
  • Affray: This fight between two or more people must occur in a public place and reasonably frighten at least one onlooker.

A Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail (60 days if the defendant has one or more prior convictions) and a $1,000 fine.

Aggressive Mecklenburg County prosecutors are anxious to upgrade the charges if at all possible, and they can do so based on the type of assault and/or the victim involved. Some common scenarios include:

  • Serious Injury: This phrase is not defined, but it generally means any injury that is not serious (i.e. one that requires medical attention). “Serious injury” is not to be confused with “serious bodily injury,” as that term usually implies hospitalization.
  • Domestic Violence: In addition to a “personal relationship” between the defendant and alleged victim, the incident must be witnessed by a child under 18 who also has a “personal relationship” with the alleged victim and/or defendant. “Personal relationship” is basically defined as two people who have, or have had, any emotional relationship whatsoever.
  • Protected Classes: These individuals include women (if the defendant is at least 18), children under 12, public officials, public and private school teachers, and sports officials.

For the most part, these aggravated offenses are Class A1 misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 60 days in jail (150 days for subsequent convictions) and a fine to be determined by the judge.

Felony Assault

Assault with a deadly weapon (and yes, a frying pan may be a deadly weapon, in some cases) is a felony. The state must also prove the defendant inflicted serious injury and/or intended to kill the alleged victim.

All these elements must be established by circumstantial evidence, as “deadly weapon” is not defined in the statute. Generally, a deadly weapon is a knife, gun, blunt object, or any other item, such as a motor vehicle, used with the requisite intent.

Rely on Assertive Attorneys

For an effective defense in this area, contact the experienced Charlotte attorneys at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Convenient payment plans are available.

 

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