Assault on a Female
Assault on a Female is a Class A1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 150 days in jail. This is an extremely common charge that can arise in the area of domestic households, as often times verbal arguments between people in a dating or marital relationship can lead to physical confrontations. For men, this is especially problematic, due to the extra protection our laws afford females as it pertains to being the victim of an assault. To meet the elements of Assault on a Female, an adult male (over the age of eighteen) must commit an assault or battery on a female. Click the following links to learn more about what constitutes an assault or a battery.
Many people find themselves asking how a statute such as this one can pass constitutional muster, given that it punishes males more severely than females for the exact same conduct. For example, a female who assaults a female can only be found guilty of a simple assault (a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 120 days in jail), whereas a male who does the exact same thing is subject to a harsher punishment and a higher class charge. However, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in the case of State v. Gurganus, 39 N.C. App. 395, 250 S.E.2d 668 (1979), found it was constitutional, and since then Courts in North Carolina have repeatedly upheld it under the legal doctrine of stare decisis (that where a Court has determined a point of law, later Courts generally follow in their footsteps and come to the same result).
However, there are other criminal charges that can arise due to the victim of an assault being a female, and in this portion of the discussion even fellow females can be charged and convicted, depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, if someone assaults a pregnant woman, they could be found guilty of battery on an unborn child, a Class A1 misdemeanor also punishable by 150 days in jail. Unlike the elements of Assault on a Female, even women can be properly charged with this crime.
Depending on the severity of the injury inflicted on the unborn child, the defendant (either male or female) could also be found guilty of several other charges. Assault inflicting serious bodily injury on an unborn child, a Class F Felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 33-49 months, requires the unborn child to be born with “serious bodily injury” due to the assault. The most significant charge involving pregnant women, Murder of an unborn child, is a Class A Felony (the most severe Class of Felony that exists in North Carolina) punishable by life in prison without the opportunity for parole. Involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child, however, put the child in the place of the mother, and focus on whether the acts which led to the death of the unborn child, if committed against the mother, would have resulted in her death. Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child is a Class D felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 128-166 months in the Department of Adult Corrections, whereas involuntary manslaughter of an unborn child is a Class F felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 33-49 months in prison.
Clearly our legislatures have determined that females in North Carolina deserve greater protection from assaults than should be afforded males in most cases, and even more so unborn children (and the pregnant female carrying the unborn child) deserve the most protection. If you or someone you know has been charged with or is the victim of any criminal charge, let the experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC help guide you through the process, and fight for your rights in court. Contact us here or call 704-370-2828.