Assault Crimes in North Carolina

In North Carolina, “assault” and “battery” are general terms used to describe specific types of crimes against another person. Specifically, the North Carolina General Statutes define four types of assault-related crimes:

  • Assault and Battery: Physically injuring another person
  • Assault: Attempting to commit assault and battery or a show of force indicating an imminent assault and battery
  • Affray: A public fight between two parties, usually done in an attempt to frighten others
  • Felony Assault: An assault that includes the use of certain types of deadly weapons

Most assault and battery crimes are charged as a Class 2 Misdemeanor. This means the victim only suffers minor injuries. If you have no prior convictions, you will receive probation and up to 30 days in jail. If you have prior convictions, you will likely face up to 60 days in jail and a potential fine of $1,000.

North Carolina law affords judges discretion in punishing assault-related crimes. For instance, if you use certain types of deadly weapons – or if the victims’ injuries are serious or the victim falls within a certain protected category (like an elderly or disabled person) – you may be charged with a Class A1 or Class 1 Misdemeanor. Additionally, if the assault and battery result in a serious injury that requires medical attention or involves the use of a deadly weapon, you will likely be charged with a Class A1 Misdemeanor and face a more severe penalty.

Victim Classification

North Carolina law applies certain punishment levels to assault-related crimes based on the status of the victim. Most notably, crimes against victims who are females or children under the age of twelve are charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor when the perpetrator is a male over the age of 18. This also applies to victims who are:

  • State employees or officers, public transportation operators, or campus private security officers on the job at the time of the assault; and
  • Public, private, or charter school employees or volunteers, if the assault occurs on school property at a school event, or while traveling to or from the school event.


The punishment applied to assault crimes depends largely on its specific circumstances. Class A1 Misdemeanors are generally punishable by probation or up to 60 days in jail, as well as a fine. If you have prior convictions, you may face up to 150 days in jail.

If an assault crime is related to domestic violence, you will face supervised probation. A second, third, or subsequent offense may result in a jail sentence of at least 30 days.

If a crime is charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, you may face probation and one to 45 days in jail, if you are a first-time offender. Prior convictions can lead to jail sentences up to 120 days, as well as a fine.

Your criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges and will work to try to reduce your sentence. If you find yourself in need of assistance, Attorney Cotten can help. He has served hundreds of satisfied clients through Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties and is ready to meet with you to discuss your case. Give him a call or click over to the main page to speak with a legal assistant 24 hours a day.