Assault and battery are general terms used to describe specific types of crimes related to violence against another person. In North Carolina, there are three misdemeanor assault and battery crimes, including:
- Assault & Battery: physically injuring another person
- Assault: attempt to commit assault & battery or a show of force indicating assault & battery will occur
- Affray: public fight between two parties, often in an attempt to frighten other people
It’s also possible to commit a felony assault in North Carolina, which occurs when assault includes certain types of deadly weapons.
Most assault and battery charges in North Carolina are Class 2 misdemeanors, which means the victim suffers only minor injuries that do not require a hospital visit or medical attention. If the person who committed the assault has no prior convictions for crimes, they usually receive probation and up to 30 days in jail. If a person has prior convictions, they are looking at up to 60 days in jail, as well as a potential fine of as much as $1000.
North Carolina does give judges the option of punishing more serious assaults and assaults & batteries, with more severe consequences. If certain types of weapons were used in the crime, or injuries were more serious, or if the victim fits into a specific category, the crime can be charged as a Class A1 or Class 1 misdemeanor.
If an assault or assault & battery results in a serious injury that requires medical attention or it involves the use of a deadly weapon, the crime is charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, and the penalty will be more severe.
The punishment for assault can also vary based on the victim. For instance, a simple assault or assault & battery that would be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor will be increased to a Class A1 misdemeanor if the victim is:
Female or a child under the age of 12, and the perpetrator is a male over the age of 18
A state employee or officer, public transportation operator, or campus or private security officers and is on the job at the time of the assault
A public, private, or charter school employee or volunteer, if the assault occurs on school property, at a school event, or during the course of transportation to or from the school or a school event
The exception to the Class A1 upgrade occurs when the victim is a sports official. Assaulting a sports official, including umpires, coaches, and referees, during the course of any organized game is still a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Where Domestic Violence Fit into the Laws on Assault and Battery?
Unfortunately, many assault and assaults & battery crimes occur within private homes. These incidents are considered domestic violence because they occur in a domestic setting and usually involve people who are related by blood or by law, or who simply have a “personal relationship.” Domestic violence is considered a Class A1 assault and battery misdemeanor. In order to be charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, the assault must include a weapon, occur in the presence of a minor child, or result in a serious injury.
A final type of battery crime, sexual battery, occurs when any sexual or physical contact for sexual purposes occurs and it is against the victim’s will. It is also considered sexual battery when the victim is considered incapable of expressing will due to being physically helpless, mentally disabled, or otherwise incapacitated, and the defendant is aware of the incapacity. Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor.
What are the Penalties for Assault and Battery Crimes?
The punishment or penalty given to a defendant found guilty of an assault and battery crime depends on the details of the crime. Class A1 misdemeanor offenses are typically punishable by probation, supervised probation, or up to 60 days in jail. There might also be a fine associated with the crime. If the defendant has prior convictions, the time spent in jail can be up to 150 days.
When an assault & battery crime is related to domestic violence, additional consequences are possible. First offense domestic violence incidents usually result in supervised probation. Second, third, and subsequent offenses require a jail sentence of at least 30 days.
When an assault & battery crime is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the defendant could face probation and one to 45 days in jail for first-time offenses. Prior convictions can result in a jail sentence of as much as 120 days. Judges are also free to impose a fine on the defendant.
There could be further punishments levied by the court, as long as they are not excessive and occur within the parameters of state and federal laws.
You Need an Attorney If You are Facing Assault & Battery Charges
An incident that involves violence and results in assault or assault & battery charges should be taken seriously, no matter the specific details of the event. Judges are given discretion in sentencing, which means the work of a skilled attorney could help you reduce the consequences of your actions. It’s also possible for an attorney to review the details of the incident and help you determine if your best course of action is to plead guilty or not. Obviously, if someone has attacked you, you have a right to defend yourself and should not be held responsible and charged with a crime.
Crimes such as this are often a case of “he-said-she-said.” What actions one person believes to be acceptable might not fall within the letter of the law. And because the courts are given some leeway with these types of crimes, it’s essential you have someone working with you who understands the assault and battery laws.
If you have been involved in an incident that involved violence and believe you could be charged with assault or assault & battery, or you are already facing charges for a crime of violence against another person, you need an attorney on your side. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Remington & Dixon at 704.247.7110.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.