What Are The Different Types of Assault Charges in North Carolina?

Raleigh assault lawyerNorth Carolina has a range of assault laws that can be charged at the misdemeanor or felony level. In general, North Carolina has three categories for assault and battery related crimes:

  1. Affray – A fight between two or more people in a public place. The most common simple affray results from a bar fight or a fight at a sporting event.
  2. Assault – The attempt to commit an assault, or a show of force indicating that and assault and battery is imminent or an act that results in the physical touching and/or injury of someone else.

To break this down further, the most common types of assaults are called “simple assaults.” This would include Simple Affray (the bar fight scenario) and Simple Assault (you got in an argument with someone and the police were called, or you hit someone without injury).

There are several classifications of assault that are reserved more more serious cases. These include:

  • Assault Inflicting Serious Injury – This is an assault where a serious injury occurs. Unfortunately, the term “serious injury” is not clearly defined but is generally understood to be an injury requiring some sort of medical attention. This is a misdemeanor.
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon – A deadly weapon is not defined in the statute, but is interpreted to be anything that can be used to kill another person. Given the broad interpretation, there have been some interesting applications of this, including claiming that a rolled up magazine could be constituted as a deadly weapon. More commonly, the weapon is a gun, knife, car, or broken bottle. This is a misdemeanor.
  • Domestic Violence – If the accused and the victim have a personal relationship, such as being family members or having a romantic relationship, an assault can be categorized as a domestic violence assault. If a man assaults a woman or a child, this is escalated to a more serious charge.
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon Causing Serious Injury or Intent to Kill – When the components of using a weapon and inflicting injury are combined, the charge is escalated to a felony. If the assault is committed with the intent to kill, it is also a felony.
  • Assault by Strangulation – Any assault that includes an element of strangulation is automatically classified as a felony.
  • Sexual Battery – Sexual battery is any sexual contact or physical contact with a sexual purpose by force and against the victim's will, choosing or desire. Any contact with a person who is mentally disabled, physically helpless or otherwise incapacitated and the accused knows of the disability is also considered sexual battery. This is a misdemeanor.

While there are good ways to resolve assault cases, they are generally not expungeable under North Carolina state law unless the case is dismissed outright or you are found not guilty.


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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.