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Assault on a Female

Assault on a female is a common charge in North Carolina and can usually arise in the context of domestic households. This is because, unfortunately, verbal arguments between two people in a marriage or dating relationship may escalate to physical confrontations depending on the circumstances.

Assault on a Female Explained

When someone assaults a female in Union County or anywhere else in the state of North Carolina, the aggressor can be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor. In North Carolina, a Class A1 misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 150 days in jail. For males, assault on a female is a particularly problematic criminal charge because North Carolina law affords extra protections to women when they are the victims of physical assault. In order to meet the elements of assault on a female in Weddington, North Carolina, an adult male (i.e., 18 years of age or older) must commit an assault and/or battery on a female.

Of note, under North Carolina law when a female assaults another female, the criminal charge is simple assault - a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 120 days in jail. Simply put, a male and female aggressor who assaults a female will receive different punishments and different charges in North Carolina. It is no surprise that many ask how North Carolina’s assault on a female statute could be constitutional, since it punishes males more severely than females for the exact same criminal conduct. This exact issue was addressed in State v. Gurganus, when the North Carolina Court of Appeals held the statute to be constitutional. Since then, North Carolina courts have repeatedly upheld the law under the legal doctrine of stare decisis, or legal precedent, when later courts follow prior court’s rulings on the same issue.

Additional Criminal Charges

There are several other criminal charges that may arise as a result of a female victim being assaulted - and a conviction may happen no matter if the accused is male or female. One example is when the female victim who is assaulted is pregnant at the time of the incident. The aggressor could be charged and found guilty of battery on an unborn child, which is a Class A1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 150 days of jail time. Unlike the requirement in assault on a female for the attacker to be male, there is no such requirement for battery on an unborn child.

Moreover, depending on the severity of the injuries inflicted upon the unborn baby, the defendant - whether male or female - may also be found guilty of other charges under North Carolina law. This may include assault inflicting serious bodily injury on an unborn child, which is a Class F felony and is punishable by 33 to 49 months of jail time. This charge requires the unborn child to be born with serious bodily injury as a result of the assault.

The most serious charge that can be made against someone who assaults a pregnant woman in North Carolina is murder of an unborn child. A Class A felony - the most severe class of felony in the state - is punishable by a sentence of life in prison without the opportunity for parole. When an accused is charged with involuntary manslaughter or voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child, North Carolina law focuses on whether the acts which led to the baby’s death - if committed against the mother herself - would have resulted in her death. North Carolina classifies voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child as a Class D felony, punishable by 128 to 166 months in jail. Involuntary manslaughter of an unborn child, on the other hand, is a Class F felony and is punishable by 33 to 44 months in prison.

Protecting the Rights of All

It is quite clear that North Carolina’s legislature believes females in the state require more protection from assaults than males. Not surprisingly, this protection under North Carolina law is even greater for the unborn and a pregnant woman carrying a child. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Weddington - or is the victim of any crime - contact the experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We can help guide you through North Carolina’s legal process and protect your rights under our laws - whether you are in Weddington or anywhere else in the state. Contact us today to schedule your initial case evaluation with one of our attorneys.