Assault charges in Charlotte should always be taken seriously. Whether you were charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, you could face harsh penalties and jail time. When you are alleged to have assaulted another person or threatened to do so, while using a deadly weapon, prosecutors will pursue the most serious offense possible. In some cases, they will also overcharge the person, in an effort to incentivize them to plead guilty to a lesser offense. When you’re freedom, reputation, and rights are on the line, don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of by our criminal justice system.
Schedule a free initial consultation with our defense attorneys by calling (980) 237-4579 today. With more than 35 years of legal experience and a Board Certified Specialist in both State and Federal Criminal Law, our attorneys will use their knowledge and experience to defend your freedom.
Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Fight For You
If you are accused of committing any sort of assault, while using a deadly weapon, then the situation is even more critical. When you supposedly use a knife, firearm, or another object that could be used to kill during an assault, you are much more likely to be charged with a felony. If you are convicted, you face a lengthy prison sentence and many collateral consequences. With any felony conviction on your record, it is hard to move forward in life.
Our attorneys at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys 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.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Weapons Charge?
Most people who find themselves in trouble with the law wonder whether they need a lawyer. The answer is yes. When you are charged with a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, the prosecutor has the upper hand. They know the law, court rules, and all the ways to twist the facts against you. Hiring a defense attorney gives you the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to protect yourself.
A lawyer’s purpose is to obtain the best results for their client, given the particular facts and circumstances in the case. Your attorney might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or drop the charges. If you’ve been wrongfully charged, your attorney might win a dismissal of your case, enabling you to avoid trial. If you go to trial, your defense attorney will have two goals: to win an acquittal and to reduce the consequences of a possible conviction.
You want to obtain the best results as soon as possible to avoid the collateral consequences of criminal charges or a conviction. If you plead or are found guilty of a crime, the repercussions in your life can be worse than your criminal sentence. Even if you avoid jail time, a permanent criminal record, probation, and fines can harm your future. You might find it hard to get work, rent or buy a home, go to college with financial aid, and more.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
There are many ways an attorney goes about fighting for the best outcome in your case. The first step is to evaluate the police investigation and the evidence they gathered thoroughly. Our team picks apart law enforcement investigations and will seek out additional evidence on our own if the case calls for it. We know how to spot issues like a lack of probable cause or unlawful searches and seizures. When we identify these problems, we file pre-trial motions to limit the evidence against you.
It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and we force prosecutors to do their job. We don’t let them sail through the criminal justice system with weak or illegally obtained evidence. We don’t let them draw false conclusions and wield false narratives. We know how to craft arguments that show judges and juries that the State can’t meet its burden, and you should go free.
There’s a lot a lawyer can do to help you avoid a conviction, and it helps to have an attorney involved from the very beginning. It’s best to retain counsel as soon as possible to avoid common mistakes you can’t take back or overcome down the road.
Why You Should Hire Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys
Once you realize you’re better off with a criminal defense attorney, the next step is hiring the right firm. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our attorneys have decades of combined experience. Anthony DelNero is a former prosecutor with unique insight into how prosecutors approach misdemeanor and felony cases. Samuel Randall is a Board Certified Specialist in both State and Federal Criminal Law by the North Carolina State Bar. He was originally certified in 2004 and recertified in 2020. Both attorneys have handled criminal cases across the state in both federal and state courts.
Though we can never guarantee specific results, we have a strong track record of obtaining extremely favorable results for our clients. We have been able to get many assault and weapons charges dismissed, allowing our clients to avoid trials and permanent criminal records. In some cases, we are able to utilize diversion programs, community service, or other forms of education and counseling to help our clients avoid a conviction. Review our case results.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charge
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 facts of your case,
- The 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 charge and its potential penalties. It might be that a lawyer can argue for your charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor or lower felony. No matter the level of the charge, though, your lawyer will fight for the best possible outcome, whether that’s a dismissal, acquittal, or minimal sentence.
Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon
While your common assault, called simple assault in North Carolina, is charged as a Class 2 Misdemeanor, the same assault is punished much more severely if a deadly weapon is used during the assault, even if it results in no physical injury. 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 conflict, you inflict serious injury upon another person OR use a deadly weapon, then you will be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor.
A prosecutor must have proof you committed a simple assault, assault and battery, or simple affray. In North Carolina, an assault is defined as an unwanted touching of another or the threat of an unwanted touching. Therefore, in North Carolina, you don’t have to touch or hurt someone to be charged with assault. Battery is the actual unlawful or offensive touching, which may or may not cause injury. An affray is a public fight between two or more people. While these offenses seem similar, they are distinct under North Carolina law.
If you were involved in a conflict, you can inflict serious injury without a deadly weapon and face a misdemeanor offense. Or you can wield a deadly weapon, not inflict any injuries on the alleged victim, and face misdemeanor charges. In either situation, you will be charged with a Class A1 Misdemeanor.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon
If you are convicted of Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon, you will be sentenced for committing an A1 Misdemeanor, which is the most severe misdemeanor class in North Carolina. The consequences of a Class A1 misdemeanor are serious, and subject you to between one and 150 days in jail, among other punishment options available to the judge. In addition to jail time and a possible fine, you also could be sentenced to special probation, satellite-based monitoring, and more.
Felonious Assault with a Deadly Weapon
If you are accused of assaulting someone with a deadly weapon, such as a knife or gun, then you will be charged with a felony under NCGS §14-32. The statute lays out three ways a person can be charged with a felony for committing an assault with a deadly weapon. The first says if you assault another person with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and you inflict serious injury, then you’ll be charged with a Class C felony. The second says if you assault someone with a deadly weapon and inflict serious injury, you will be charged with a Class E felony. The third states that if assault someone with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, but do not cause serious injury, you will be charged with a Class E felony.
As you can see above, your alleged intent to kill results in a much more severe felony charge. Also of importance, is the ultimate result of your alleged actions, specifically the type of injury suffered by the alleged victim. A prosecutor must prove you caused the other person serious injury. What are serious injuries? They are any bodily injury that causes:
- Serious permanent disfigurement;
- Permanent or long-term pain;
- Permanent or long-term impairment or loss of function of an organ or body part;
- Prolonged hospitalization;
- A coma; or
- A substantial risk of death.
If the prosecutor can’t prove all of these elements, then you can still be charged with a crime, but it will likely be a lower felony offense, or possibly a misdemeanor. If you lacked intent to kill, yet you assaulted someone with a deadly weapon and inflicted serious injury, then you face Class E felony charges. Or if you had the intent to kill during the assault, but you did not inflict serious injury, then you face a Class E felony.
Penalties for Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon
For the Class C felony of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury, you face a term of imprisonment between 44 and 231 months. For a Class E felony charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury or Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill, you face a prison term between 15 and 88 months. You also will be subject to fines, court costs, restitution, probation, and additional consequences.
Defending Against Assault with a Deadly Weapon
If you have been charged with assault involving the use of a deadly weapon, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The best possible defense will depend on an immediate and thorough evaluation of the facts and evidence related to your case.
To determine the strongest defense strategy, we thoroughly review the details of your case. We look at the evidence from all sides and ask ourselves, “what’s missing?”, “What are the strongest facts against you?”, “Which pieces of evidence are weak?”. No detail is too small to consider in crafting your defense.
It’s important to remember that while probable cause is enough for the State to file charges, it isn’t enough for a conviction. It is the prosecution’s burden to prove you committed assault with a deadly weapon beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high bar. It is not your job to prove you did not commit the crime. Instead, your defense is meant to show the judge and jury the weaknesses and holes in the prosecutor’s theory. You want to make the jury doubt that what the prosecution is arguing is true or that there’s enough evidence against you.
Lack of Intent
If you are charged with a felony offense for Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill, it is the State’s burden to prove you had the intent to kill, and 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, which depending on the facts and credibility of witnesses, may be a tough task. To combat the State’s position, your lawyer will work to create enough doubt that the jury or judge cannot say you possessed the intent to kill.
Self-Defense or Defense of Others
You are 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 you were facing at the time of the incident.
Lack of Serious Injuries
Whether or not the alleged victim suffered serious injuries 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.
Lack of Possession of Deadly Weapon
These charges rest on you using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the alleged assault. 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.
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 you have an alibi for the time of the offense, and you were not involved. It also is possible that the circumstances never happened at all, in which case, we may put forth evidence that the alleged victim is lying.
Contact us Today for Your Assault with a Deadly Weapon Case
When you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges for an assault involving a firearm or other weapon, the best thing you can do for yourself is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Do not try to handle this situation alone. The prosecutor will have much more experience than you, and you are unlikely to get the outcome you want. An attorney from Randall & Stump, PLLC, will dedicate their time, knowledge, and skills to your case and provide you with a thorough and aggressive defense throughout the entire process.