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North Carolina Assault and Battery Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

"Assault and battery" is a familiar phrase that refers to crimes involving the physical injury of another. Although there can be two distinct offenses, the phrase is appropriate to use when assault and battery are fused together. Unlike many states, North Carolina merges the two offenses and often includes them in one charge.

Most of the assault and battery offenses are charged as misdemeanors. This includes a "simple" assault (occurs when there is an attempted assault and battery or a display of force that shows that an assault and battery is about to occur) and a "simple" affray, which is a form of fighting that disturbs the peace.

The offenses can be upgraded if the crime involves a deadly weapon or when certain classes of victims are assaulted including the disabled, women, children, school employees, volunteers, and even sports officials (such as referees during games).

North Carolina Assault and Battery Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of North Carolina's assault and battery laws, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

North Carolina General Statutes:

  • Section 14-33 (simple assault/assault and battery/affray)
  • Section 14-32 (felony assault with deadly weapon)
  • Section 14-32.1 (assault on handicapped persons)

Penalties and Sentencing

North Carolina uses a complex sentencing formula; the actual sentence will depend on the specifics of the individual case and factors such as prior criminal history. The following are general guidelines.

Misdemeanor Charges

Simple Assault, simple assault and battery, and simple affray are categorized as Class 2 misdemeanors. The offense is elevated to a Class A1 misdemeanor in the following cases:

  • The actor inflicts serious injury on another or uses a deadly weapon;
  • Assaults a female when the actor is male and 18 and older;
  • Assaults a child under the age of 12;
  • Assaults an officer or employee of the state;
  • Assaults a school employee/volunteer.

Felony Charges

  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury is a Class C felony.
  • Class C felony is punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 44-98 months.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon accompanied with either serious injury or with the intent to kill is a Class E felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 15-31 months.

Possible Defenses

  • Self defense
  • Consent

Related Offenses

North Carolina General Statues:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

North Carolina Assault and Battery Laws: Related Resources

Locate a North Carolina Attorney for Help with Your Case

Navigating through the world of North Carolina's assault and battery laws involves an intricate journey. It can be difficult to know where you stand given the complexity of the charges and penalties and the specific facts of your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help to explain your case and assess your options. Locate an attorney near you today to learn more.

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