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What’s the Difference Between Assault and Battery in North Carolina?

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Assault and Battery, Criminal Defense on Friday, January 26, 2024

Shadow of a Man Beating Up Someone Else

The crimes of assault and battery are often associated with each other, but they are technically two different offenses with important distinctions.

If you or a loved one are accused of either offense, speaking to an assault lawyer at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys is the best way to understand the charges and how to handle them. We can help fight any accusations of assault or battery you face in the Charlotte area.

For a free and confidential consultation, contact us today at (980) 223-3159.

North Carolina Assault and Battery Laws

In North Carolina, you commit an assault offense when you attempt/threaten to unlawfully touch someone. Battery is when you intentionally touch someone without their permission or consent. The main difference between assault and battery is whether the offender touched the victim.

What Is Assault in North Carolina?

Assault is the threat of unwanted or illegal touching or creating fear that the offender will harm the victim. You may be charged with a simple assault if you threaten someone or if you touch them in an unwanted and/or threatening manner.

What is Aggravated Assault?

North Carolina’s higher classification for assault charges is aggravated assault, which is considered a felony. Aggravated assault is a physical attack causing severe bodily injury to the victim. If you use a gun or knife to threaten or harm another person, your charge may include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. You can also be charged with aggravated assault if there is a threat of another crime, such as sexual assault.

What Is Battery in North Carolina?

Battery is the act of harming or committing an unwanted touching of the victim. You do not actually have to touch the victim’s body, but may touch an extension of their person, such as something they’re holding. Punching, shoving, or throwing an object at someone are all examples of battery.

The crime of sexual battery is a separate issue that involves unwanted contact that was for sexual gratification. If convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender.

The Key Differences Between Assault & Battery

The main distinction between the two crimes is that assault doesn’t require physical contact, while battery does. Assault involves the threat of imminent harm, whereas battery is the act of committing harm.

While this describes the technical difference between assault and battery, North Carolina law (NCGS 14-33) uses the term “assault” for all of these situations.

Are Penalties for Assault and Battery Different in NC?

Assault and battery charges can both be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The specific punishment you face depends on the details of your case. If you’re found guilty of a misdemeanor assault offense, you could face the following penalties:

  • 30 days imprisonment or probation for first-time offenders
  • Up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 for a subsequent offense
  • Up to 150 days for aggravated assaults with injuries

If you’re found guilty of a felony, however, you face harsher penalties, including the possibility of a much longer prison sentence.

To learn more about the penalties you face due to an assault and battery charge, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Randall & Stump for help.

Aggravating Factors of Assault Charges in North Carolina

You can face various penalties for assault, depending on the specifics of your cases. The consequences for both assault and battery charges worsen if aggravating factors are present, including:

  • If the victim was a female
  • If the victim was less than 12-years-old
  • If the victim was an emergency or medical worker
  • If the victim was a government employee or official
  • If the victim was a campus employee or an official
  • If there was a minor present
  • If you used a deadly weapon
  • If you pointed a gun at the victim

What Should You Do if You’re Charged with Assault?

Being charged with assault is serious, and how you react can shape what happens next. Here are some general steps you can take.

Exercise your right to remain silent: Don’t talk to the police about the incident without your lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you, even if you’re innocent.

Contact an experienced defense attorney: Reach out to a lawyer familiar with North Carolina assault laws and experience handling similar cases. Your lawyer will advise you on your rights, legal options, and best course of action. They can also collect evidence that supports your side of the story, such as witness statements, video footage, or medical records.

Call Randall & Stump about Your Assault and Battery Charges Today

Since an assault case is affected by so many details, you need to retain the help of an attorney as soon as possible. Facing charges for assault and battery is a daunting task. You’ll want someone to ensure your side of the story is being told. With Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys on your side, your case is in good hands.

Contact us today at (980) 223-3159 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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