Legal Articles
Criminal Defense
Get Started Finding a Local Attorney Now

Simply fill out this form to connect with an Attorney serving your area.

North Carolina Assault Defenses

In North Carolina, assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. This depends on the specifics of the crime. For instance, if the incident involved a weapon, you may be charged with a more serious type of assault than if you had just merely gotten into a fist fight with another person.

If you are charged with assault, you have several options for defenses. Which defense you will use will depend on the specifics of your case. The best person to turn to for insight as to the best defense to use is a North Carolina criminal attorney. North Carolina criminal lawyers can analyze the details of your case to come up with the best defense for you.

The Basics of North Carolina Assault

Under North Carolina assault laws, assault occurs when someone threatens to cause or actually causes injury to another person.

There are many different types of assault. The most basic type of assault is known as simple assault. Simple assault is when someone either unlawfully touches someone or performs a show of violence. A show of violence is when someone threatens violence without necessarily acting on it. An example of this would be someone raising a fist at you without actually striking. Simple assault is considered a class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina.

There are a number of factors that can raise a simple assault from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 1 or what is known as a class 1A misdemeanor in North Carolina. These higher classes of misdemeanor may warrant longer jail sentences or steeper fines. For example, if you threaten to strike an official at a sporting event, you may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. Furthermore, if an adult male assaults a female, he is guilty of a class 1A misdemeanor.

Assault with a deadly weapon or assault that results in serious injuries is considered a class A1 misdemeanor. However, this can escalate to felony status if other factors are involved in the crime.

For example, if the assault involves a deadly weapon and there is an intent to kill, then the assault is considered a class E felony in North Carolina. If this assault were to actually cause serious injury, then it would result in a class C felony.

North Carolina Assault Defenses: Self Defense

One frequently used defense in assault cases is known as self-defense. The self-defense defense attempts to show that you were not the attacker, but rather you were attacked. When trying to thwart the attacker from injuring you or another person, you used a reasonable amount of force to stop him. Therefore, although you may have used physical force against another, it was justified.

Under North Carolina assault law, to prove this defense, you must provide some evidence to show that the alleged victim acted first and that you felt that your safety was threatened. You must also show that the amount of force you used was reasonable for the situation you were in.

North Carolina Assault Defenses: Alibi

You may also try to prove that the prosecution charged the wrong person. If you were not at the scene of the crime or involved in the fight that resulted in the assault incident, you may want to use the alibi defense.

The alibi defense relies on the use of an alibi witness and other evidence to vouch for your whereabouts while the crime was taking place. With this, you are attempting to cast doubt in the jurors minds that you were involved in the crime at all.

North Carolina Assault Defenses: Consent

In some instances, you may be able to have charges dropped or at least reduce the charges against you by claiming that the incident of assault was consensual. This defense, known as the consent defense, claims that you and the alleged victim voluntarily engaged in an activity where injury was foreseeable.

For this defense to work, you and your attorney will have to convince the jury that you and the other person consented to a fight or potentially harmful activity.