North Carolina Communicating Threats

I’ve posted elsewhere on this site about assaults in general. The interesting thing about North Carolina’s crime of simple assault is that it is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and proof of a simple assault requires more than “mere words” on the part of the defendant. If the defendant merely said, “I’m going to hit you.” but made no gesture or move toward the victim, then simple assault would not apply.

However, North Carolina also has the crime of “communicating threats” which is actually more severe than “simple assault.” Communicating threats is a Class 1 misdemeanor, while Simple Assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

In addition, communicating threats requires less proof than simple assault. All the state needs to prove is that a threat was communicated (and that a reasonable person would’ve taken it as a threat). The state doesn’t need to show that any gesture, or movement was made by the defendant. Mere words are enough to prove “communicating threats.”

If you’re accused of this crime in Apex, Cary, or Raleigh or Wake County, you should certainly seek out a criminal lawyer in Raleigh. Call me at (919) 352-9411 for a free consultation weekdays, evenings, or weekends.

Here’s the statute for your information:

N.C.G.S. 14-277.1. Communicating threats.

(a)       A person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if without lawful authority:

(1)       He willfully threatens to physically injure the person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent or willfully threatens to damage the property of another;

(2)       The threat is communicated to the other person, orally, in writing, or by any other means;

(3)       The threat is made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out; and

(4)       The person threatened believes that the threat will be carried out.

(b)       A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.