Assault charges in Charlotte should always be taken seriously. When you allegedly harmed another person or threatened to do so, prosecutors will seek to charge you with the most serious offense possible. You need to work with a Charlotte criminal defense attorney to avoid having a violent offense on your record. If you are accused of assault with a deadly weapon, then the situation is even more critical. When you supposedly use a knife, firearm, or another potentially deadly weapon during an assault, you are much more likely to be charged with a felony. If you are convicted, you could face a lengthy prison sentence and many collateral consequences. With a felony conviction on your record, it can be difficult to move forward in life.
Our attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC believe in everyone’s right to defend themselves in court. We understand how frightening it can be to face weapons charges. This is why we offer thorough and aggressive representation. We will fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges
In Charlotte, assault with a deadly weapon can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The exact charge you face depends on the details of your case, your alleged victim’s injuries, and what the prosecutor believes they can prove at trial. You should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding the exact charges and their potential penalties.
Misdemeanor Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon in Charlotte is found in North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) 14-33(c). If you commit assault, assault and battery, or an affray, and during the course of conflict you inflict serious injury upon another person OR use a deadly weapon, then you will be charged with a class A1 misdemeanor. It is important to note that you can inflict serious injury without a deadly weapon and still face a misdemeanor offense. You can also use a deadly weapon, yet not inflict any injuries on the alleged victim, and face misdemeanor charges. Additionally, intent is not necessary to inflict serious injury.
Assault by Pointing a Gun
Another form of misdemeanor assault is assault by pointing a gun, which is found under NCGS 14-34. If you point a loaded or unloaded gun or pistol at someone, you can be charged with a class A1 misdemeanor. This includes if you do so as a joke. This crime may be charged as a Class A1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 150 days in jail.
The elements of this crime involve a person:
- Pointing a gun
- At another person
The first element requires intent. You must have intentionally pointed a gun at another person. That means if you accidentally did so, you may not be convicted of the crime. An accident may occur when you’re displaying a weapon or cleaning it. However, the prosecutor must show that you had intent in order to be guilty of this crime.
The second element involves pointing a gun. A gun may be a pistol or any other firearm. If you have a handgun, rifle, or any other type of gun, it may not be pointed at another person.
The third element involves the target of the weapon. If you point the gun in the air or at a tree, you may not be found guilty of this crime. However, if you directly point a gun at another person, then you may be convicted.
There are exceptions and defenses to assault by pointing a gun. If an officer points a gun at a person with legal justification, then they may not be found guilty of this crime. Consult with a skilled assault lawyer to learn more about possible defenses to assault by pointing a gun. (980) 237-4579.
Felonious Assault With a Deadly Weapon
If you are accused of attacking someone with a deadly weapon such as a knife or gun, then you can be charged with a felony under NCGS 14-32. This statute states that “anyone who assaults another person with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicts serious injury” shall be charged with a class C felony. If you lacked the intent to kill, yet you assaulted someone with a deadly weapon and inflicted serious injury, then you face class E felony charges. If you had the intent to kill during the assault, but you did not inflict serious injury, then you could also face charges for a class E felony.
How Much Jail Time Comes With an Assault With a Deadly Weapon Conviction?
The amount of jail or prison time you face for the crime of assault with a deadly weapon depends on your criminal record, and the specific charges against you. Penalties for these offenses include:
For class A1 misdemeanors outlined in NCGS 14-33(c) & NCGS 14-34, you face one to 150 days in jail. In addition to incarceration, you could face a discretionary fine. In addition to jail time and a possible fine, you could also be sentenced to special probation, satellite-based monitoring, and more.
For the class C felony detailed in NCGS 14-32, you face a term of imprisonment of 44 to 182 months. For the class E felonies listed in the same statute, you face a prison term of 15 to 63 months. For these offenses, you also face the possibility of large fines, and restitution.
Defending Against Assault With a Deadly Weapon
If you have been charged with assault that involved the use of a deadly weapon, you should speak with an attorney immediately. The best possible defense will depend on the charges against you and the facts specific to your case.
One way to fight this type of charge is to argue you lacked intent. If you are charged with a felony and the prosecution seeks to prove you had the intent to kill, your attorney may submit evidence that you did not possess this intent. The prosecution must prove you had the intent to kill beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer will work to create enough doubt that the jury or judge cannot say you possessed the intent to kill.
Another possible defense that is similar to lack of intent is that you acted in self-defense or defense of others. This is an important defense option within criminal law. However, self-defense cannot be used in every situation. You are only entitled to use force to the degree that is reasonably necessary for you to avoid harm or to prevent others from being harmed. If you claim your use of a deadly weapon was in self-defense or defense of others, you must show that the use of a deadly weapon was proportional to the threat.
Your attorney may argue the alleged victim has not suffered serious injuries. This issue can be particularly important during felony charges. If you did not inflict serious injuries, the prosecutor might not be able to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer may attempt to show in court that the defendant’s injuries are not as serious as they claim.
These charges rest on your using or exhibiting a deadly weapon. One way to defend against allegations of assault with a deadly weapon is to prove you did not possess such an instrument. For instance, the police may claim that the victim or other witness saw you reach for a gun. However, your attorney may strive to show the court that you did not have a firearm on you at the time of the offense, and that no firearm was admitted into evidence.
Additionally, when you have been falsely accused of a crime, a Charlotte criminal defense lawyer may strive to prove that this is a case of mistaken identity. We may work to show that the prosecution lacks explicit evidence against you. Depending on the case, we may show that you have an alibi for the time of the offense, and that you were not involved at all.