Fighting Assault and Battery Charges in North Carolina

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you could be charged with assault and battery. In North Carolina, assault and battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted, you could face a jail or prison sentence, fines, and a permanent criminal record. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can fight the charges and may be able to eliminate or minimize the harsh consequences you face.

Penalties for Misdemeanor and Felony Assault Charges

In North Carolina, assault and battery charges carry a range of penalties, depending on whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony and the case's specific facts. Simple assault and simple battery carry the least severe penalties, while aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and sexual assault and battery carry the most serious penalties. For less serious misdemeanors, such as simple assault or battery, a first-time offender can expect a sentence of up to 30 days in jail, fines of up to $1,000, and community service or victim restitution.

The penalties could be more severe for a second conviction, including up to two months in jail. For aggravated sexual assault and battery, which are usually charged as class A1 or class 1 misdemeanors, the penalties of a conviction may include supervised probation, large fines, and up to 150 days of incarceration.

Assault or battery with a deadly weapon is considered a felony charge in North Carolina. The penalties vary depending on whether a judge or jury believes the alleged offender intended to kill the victim. Prison sentences for those convicted range from 15 to 98 months, in addition to probation, fines, and other penalties.

Legal Defenses for Assault and Battery Charges

In North Carolina, a person can be charged with assault for threatening another person with bodily harm that puts the other person in reasonable fear. A defendant can face an assault charge even when they never touched the alleged victim. There would need to be some type of physical touching to be charged with battery.


One of the most common defenses to assault and battery charges is self-defense. When a defendant raises a self-defense claim, they are asserting that the assault or battery occurred but that it was justified for self-protection or the protection of others. Proving self-defense occurred can be difficult as you would need to prove that the victim was the attacker and you were defending yourself. You would also need to prove that you were in imminent fear of bodily injury.

Defense of Others

The defense of others is a similar defense to self-defense. If you were defending another person being attacked, you could raise the defense of others to fight the charges against you. Again, you will need to prove you have a reasonable fear that the person you were protecting was in imminent danger of being harmed.

Alibi Defense

An alibi defense could be raised with a claim of misidentification if you have an alibi that can help you prove you were somewhere else when the alleged assault and battery was committed. Suppose you have evidence via photos, videos, receipts, or other physical evidence that you could not have been at the location of the assault and battery. In that case, you can raise this legal defense.


Misidentification occurs when an alleged victim or witness misidentifies the perpetrator. If you have been misidentified as the perpetrator, you can argue that the police arrested the wrong person.

False Accusations

Innocent people can be accused of assault and battery. Perhaps a domestic dispute occurred, and someone called the police. The police may arrive to find each person accusing the other person of assault and/or battery. With limited knowledge of what happened, they may have arrested you, even though you were innocent. These types of disputes are often “he said-she said” situations. As a result, the wrong person may be arrested.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina?

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about helping people throughout our community as they move through the criminal justice system. We provide all of our clients with the time and attention they need and deserve. We will carefully investigate the facts of your case and work with you to develop an effective legal defense. Do not hesitate to contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you.