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What happens when you’re accused of assault and battery?

Assault and battery accusations are a serious matter. No matter whether your actions line up with the allegations, you will need to protect yourself at all costs. Part of your defense includes understanding North Carolina’s laws, which carry serious consequences if you face conviction.

Understanding North Carolina’s laws

North Carolina uses the same laws to punish both assault and battery. Yet, there are key differences between the two offenses. Many people think assault refers to the act where one is physically harmed. But battery is the proper term for this violation. Whereas assault is the attempt at or threat of harming another person. In either case, you will likely face Class 2 misdemeanor charges for any act of assault or battery you’re accused of. Any sentence you receive depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your accusation. Whether you have a prior criminal record will factor into sentencing, too.

Your charges will upgrade to a Class A1 misdemeanor if you’re accused of harming:

  • A woman (if you are 18 or older)
  • A child under age 12
  • A person with a disability
  • A school employee or volunteer
  • A state employee
  • A transportation professional

Felony assault and battery

Misdemeanor charges accompany most assault and battery offenses. Yet, you may face accusations of brandishing or using a weapon during the incident. If these allegations come along with reports of serious injury or the intent to kill, you will receive Class E felony charges. You could spend over 2 1/2 years in prison if convicted. And if reports allege that you used a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, you will receive Class C felony charges. You could spend over 8 years in prison if convicted.

Because assault and battery charges have serious repercussions, you will not want to work through yours alone. An attorney with criminal defense experience can help you figure out a path forward.