The Severity of Assault by Pointing a Gun Charges in North Carolina
Assault by pointing a gun is categorized as a class A1 felony. As mentioned above, this is a severe offense that can easily lead to the defendant’s incarceration for a long time. The weapon may not have been pointed, but the charge holds if it is displayed. If you are accused of pointing a gun at a police officer, the charge becomes a more considerable offense and may be termed aggravated assault. For law purposes, any imitation or false guns like water pistols, airsoft guns, toy guns, bb guns, or pellet guns are considered firearm-like weapons.
Any device that might be mistaken for a real gun is considered an imitation firearm. In such cases, the prosecutors must prove that the defendant used the firearm to threaten, intimidate, or frighten a person. The law protects police officers who could feel intimidated by someone holding something that can easily be mistaken for a real gun and respond by firing their firearm in self-defense. Additionally, this offense is sometimes charged with unauthorized possession of a weapon.
Penalties for Charges of Assault by Pointing a Gun in North Carolina
Most of these charges are often Class A1 felonies, but when the alleged victim is a law enforcement officer, then you could face additional assault charges. If you are accused of pointing a gun, you might spend up to 18 months in prison and pay a fine. When found guilty, you might receive three to five years imprisonment, and if the case involves a police officer, the conviction has a mandatory minimum prison term.
Notably, North Carolina criminal laws forbid the concealment and possession of a gun for unlawful purposes. The charge is a Class 2 felony and may add to your conviction. The crime has a minimum sentence of five to ten years and a criminal record which can be seen during background checks for schools, housing, and jobs.
Legal Defenses for Assault by Pointing a Gun Charges
Criminal defense attorneys can defend you against charges of firearm assault using a variety of tactics. These include:
The Act Was Not Willful
A conviction for assault by pointing a gun requires there to be willful intent of the act against another person. In most cases, our assault defense lawyers may be able to show that you did not act intentionally, which would allow you to avoid being convicted. For instance, it’s possible that you made a simple mistake and that using a gun was not motivated by aggression.
In some instances, the criminal defense lawyer might be able to show that you acted in self-defense or the protection of others. North Carolina laws allow you to protect yourself if you reasonably believe you are in danger of suffering physical harm and must reveal a firearm.
It is crucial to note that assault by pointing a gun charges do not necessitate physical harm to the victim. As a result, it is easy for someone to be the target of false accusations brought on by anger, revenge, or jealousy. Our assault defense lawyers might be able to show that you were unfairly accused and arrested.
Waiver of Graves Act Mandatory Minimums
The Graves Act requirement for gun charges requires the defendant to serve a minimum sentence for the offense before being eligible for parole. A lesser sentence is possible when your criminal defense lawyer persuades the prosecution to file a motion to waive the mandatory minimums for the Graves Act. A shorter sentence, Pre-trial intervention, or probation is more appropriate and beneficial for a first-time offender or a law-abiding citizen.
An unloaded firearm cannot be used in an assault or to shoot somebody. The only exception is if you hit the person with the firearm or tried to, since that action qualifies as assault. A lawyer could argue that you used the unloaded gun to make the other person feel nervous and never intimidated them that the gun was loaded, which could reduce the charges.
The most crucial part of this to understand is that you have more alternatives for the defense of your case than you realize.
Consult With a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer at King Law Today
Being arrested for an assault by pointing a gun is serious. If you are found guilty and convicted, you will go to prison, and many aspects of your everyday life could change forever. A skilled assault defense lawyer will apply several defenses to your case. Therefore, consulting someone familiar with the North Carolina justice system is crucial. The lawyers at King Law have had years of experience effectively defending their clients in North Carolina courts.
Call a criminal defense lawyer at King Law immediately to decide the best course of action if you are accused of assault by pointing a gun. Our law offices will provide an immediate response and arrange a consultation about your case. Fill out our contact form or call (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to get in touch.