North Carolina Simple Assault Charges: General Statute § 14-33(a)

Assault is a crime that involves the use of violence against another person and can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In North Carolina, you can be charged with assault without ever touching someone. Simple assault is the least serious assault charge that can be brought against you.

Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault or battery, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible for assistance in avoiding the heavy penalties you’re facing.

What is a Simple Assault Charge in North Carolina?

Under General Statute 14-33(a), simple assault entails unlawfully assaulting another individual though the term assault is not explicitly defined. Because assault is not clearly defined by statute, it is characterized by the conventional Common Law offense of assault. In North Carolina, a battery is considered an assault. Assault can involve touching someone inappropriately or threatening someone with bodily harm when you look capable of carrying out your threat immediately.

Common Defenses to Simple Assault Charges

Though violence is typically frowned upon legally and socially, it is still possible to defend a simple assault charge. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to construct an effective defense that could lessen the perceived severity of your actions.

Common defenses used against simple assault charges include:

  • The defendant was practicing self-defense. Self-defense is the use of force that is reasonably necessary to defend yourself from harm or injury. People in North Carolina have the right to use self-defense to protect themselves against assault.
  • The defendant was protecting others. If there is a legal justification, cause, or excuse, you are allowed to defend others. The amount of force used to defend others must be appropriate and not excessive.
  • The defendant was defending their property. People in North Carolina have the right to defend and protect their property. In defending your property, only the use of reasonable force is permitted.
  • The alleged victim consented to the act. Suppose the alleged victim voluntarily consented to an act that would otherwise be considered a Simple Assault Involving Physical Contact. In that case, the defense can use that consent to argue against the charges.

Depending on the nature of your case, your attorney may be able to build a strong defense based on one of these arguments. Crafting a good argument is a skill you can only find in a highly-trained and experienced criminal defense lawyer.

What Are the Penalties for North Carolina Simple Assault Convictions?

Simple assault is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor. If you have no past convictions, you may be sentenced to probation or up to 30 days in prison. If you have a prior conviction for this crime, the judge may sentence you to a maximum of 60 days in jail and order you to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

Other potential penalties for simple assault convictions include:

  • Alcohol monitoring
  • Anger management treatment
  • Community service
  • Court fees
  • Drug testing and random urinalysis
  • Penalties
  • Psychiatric assessments and treatment
  • Restitution
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Supervised or unsupervised probation

People arrested for simple assault have more than just legal repercussions to worry about. Assault charges can damage your reputation. If you are convicted of assault, there could be long-term social and professional consequences.

What Factors Can Elevate a Simple Assault Charge?

When certain extreme circumstances arise, a simple assault charge and its penalties can be elevated to aggravated assault, a more serious offense with steeper penalties. 

A simple assault charge can be elevated to aggravated assault in the following circumstances:

  • The defendant utilized a weapon during the attack.
  • The victim is a legally vulnerable person, such as a child, pregnant woman, or elderly person.
  • The victim suffered significant harm or a severe and long-lasting injury due to the assault.

Should any of these factors be present in your case, the prosecution will likely elevate your charges. To have adequate time to plan for this decision, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They may be able to inform you of legal options that could protect you.

Reach Out to the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at King Law

Do not risk an assault conviction by acting rashly or attempting to resolve your case independently. Act in your best interest by seeking professional legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Dealing with assault charges can be stressful. Having a lawyer by your side can make aspects of your case more manageable and reveal that you have more options than you previously knew.

King Law has the necessary knowledge, experience, and resources to handle your simple assault case. We are a firm of highly-trained legal professionals committed to serving our clients well. We provide various services to our clients that may be able to secure a favorable outcome, like evaluating the details of their case, building a solid defense, questioning the validity of weak evidence, and protecting clients from unethical prosecution practices. Learn more about how our firm can help you by calling (888) 748-KING or filling out our online contact form.