Is Assault and Battery a Felony in North Carolina?

is battery a felony

Assault and battery charges in North Carolina range from simple misdemeanor offenses to serious felonies. While any assault allegation deserves experienced legal representation, not every charge will lead to felony-level consequences.

So, when does assault and battery cross the line into felony territory? Let’s walk through the key factors.

Simple Assault is Charged as a Misdemeanor in NC

In North Carolina, simple assault and simple assault and battery are typically charged as Class 2 misdemeanors. However, certain aggravating factors can elevate the charge to a Class 1 or even Class A1 misdemeanor, which carries more severe penalties.

Some of these aggravating factors include:

  • Assault and battery against a sports official during or immediately after their official duties
  • Inflicting serious injury or using a deadly weapon
  • Males 18+ assaulting a female
  • Assaulting a pregnant woman, child under 12, or government/school employee or volunteer in the course of their duties
  • Assaulting public transit operators, company/campus police officers, or TNC (rideshare) drivers

Assaults that occur between people in a personal relationship, in the presence of a minor residing with or under the care of either party, can also result in Class A1 misdemeanor charges. Subsequent offenses under these circumstances mandate a minimum 30-day jail sentence.

While simple assault charges are generally charged as misdemeanors, they should still be taken very seriously, as convictions can result in jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record.

What Can Turn Assault and Battery into a Felony?

Under North Carolina General Statute § 14‑33, assault and battery starts out as a Class 2 misdemeanor. That’s the lowest misdemeanor classification in the state.

But certain circumstances can bump misdemeanor charges up to a much more serious felony charge. These include:

Use of a Deadly Weapon

Introducing a dangerous weapon elevates a simple assault and battery to aggravated assault and battery, a Class F felony in North Carolina. A deadly weapon could be anything used or intended to cause death or serious injury, like a gun, knife, or club. Even hands and feet can count as deadly weapons if used to inflict severe harm.

Infliction of Serious Injury

Causing substantial harm rather than just offensive contact also leads to felony aggravated battery charges. Prosecutors may claim serious injury based on things like:

  • Broken bones
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of body parts

Defense attorneys can dispute the actual severity of injuries, however. Bruising and minor cuts would not suffice.

The Status of the Victims

Certain victims receive extra protection under North Carolina law. Committing battery against a pregnant woman, law enforcement officer, elderly or disabled person, or child under 12 automatically leads to felony charges, regardless of injury severity.

Domestic violence charges can also quickly escalate to felonies with added sentencing enhancements.

Prior Convictions

Under North Carolina’s structured sentencing system, repeat offenses lead to harsher punishments. Someone with previous assault or battery convictions on their record could face felony charges for an incident that would normally only warrant misdemeanor battery for a first-time offender.

What Are The Penalties for Felony Assault and Battery Charges in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, most felonious assault and battery charges are Class F felonies.

Possible penalties for Class F felony aggravated assault battery include:

  • 10-59 months in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • 36 months supervised probation

Enhanced domestic violence charges can go up to Class D felonies, carrying over five years in prison. And inflicting catastrophic injuries could even lead to Class A or B felony charges with well over a decade behind bars.

The penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case and the charges brought against you. It’s always advisable to consult experienced legal counsel to discuss your options.

Fighting Back Against Felony Assault Charges

While felony convictions have severe consequences, experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to mount an aggressive defense, including:

  • Challenging evidence of weapon use or serious injuries
  • Disputing felony classification by arguing for misdemeanor-level offenses
  • Raising valid self-defense claims
  • Attempting to negotiate plea bargains to lesser charges
  • Securing pretrial release and minimizing time behind bars pre-trial

Early intervention by a knowledgeable lawyer provides the best chance of avoiding unwarranted felony charges and penalties. Time is of the essence.

Take Control of Your Case With Our NC Defense Lawyers

While no battery charge should be taken lightly, not every allegation leads to felony status. Factors like injury severity and weapon use distinguish misdemeanor simple batteries from felony aggravated batteries.

With an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney helping protect your rights, you can avoid unfair exaggeration of charges. Don’t leave your future to chance – skilled representation can make all the difference.

If you face battery charges in North Carolina, contact McMinn, Logan & Gray PLLC for experienced and aggressive representation. Their team of Winston-Salem criminal defense attorneys has a proven track record of achieving favorable outcomes. Let them review your case details and advise you on the best defense strategies. Take the first step and call today.

Author Bio

Derek M. Gray

Derek Gray is a Partner of McMinn, Logan & Gray, a North Carolina criminal defense law firm. With more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Derek received his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central School of Law in 2007 and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association. With his experience as a former Assistant District Attorney, he has represented more than 1,000 criminal defense clients in North Carolina and received more than 100 5-star Google ratings.

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