What is the Difference Between Assault and Aggravated Assault?

Criminal law is an extremely nuanced field where specific details can have a major impact. In criminal courts in North Carolina, the guilt or innocence of the alleged offender can depend on a single detail; it is the same with punishments regarding the severity of a crime. For instance, aggravated assault can result in years behind bars, while an assault charge can result in lesser penalties.

Assault & Aggravated Assault | Raleigh Defense Attorney Dewey Brinkley

At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we boast full and in-depth knowledge of North Carolina laws, especially regarding the differences between severe crimes, such as aggravated assault, and less severe crimes, such as assault. In this post, we’ll explain the difference between these two offenses, and how each ruling may affect your future.

In the meantime, if you or a loved one was charged with assault or aggravated assault, it’s critical to call the leading Raleigh criminal defense attorney in the Wake County area. Call attorney Dewey Brinkley today for a free consultation.

Misdemeanor Assault and Battery Crimes

In order to best understand the differences in law and penalties for assault and battery, it can be helpful to look at the various levels of assault in North Carolina. The lowest level of assault is misdemeanor assault, and there are three levels of misdemeanor assault and battery, including:

  • Assault that involves physically injuring someone else
  • Attempting to commit assault, involving a show of force that makes assault imminent
  • Affray, or a fight between two people in a public area, that frightens others

The North Carolina laws detailing misdemeanor assault include N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-32 and 14-33.

It is important to note that simple assault and affray result in minor physical injuries. In this situation, the alleged offender may be looking at a Class 2 misdemeanor. With no prior convictions, a Class 2 misdemeanor may result in probation and a sentence of 1 to 30 days in jail (with prior convictions, the jail time may be increased to 60 days).

Serious Assault, Assault and Battery, and Affray

If the alleged assault included more serious injuries, certain victims, or specific weapons, the penalties can be increased to Class A1 or Class 1 misdemeanors. For instance:

  • Serious injury – Although N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-33 doesn’t define serious injury, many North Carolina courts will consider a serious injury as one that could require medical attention (the victim doesn’t necessarily need to get medical attention). An assault that inflicts serious injury is a Class A1 misdemeanor.
  • Using a deadly weapon – A deadly weapon is one that could kill an individual, including guns, knives, and blunt objects, as well as any other object used in a deadly manner. Using a deadly weapon to commit assault is a Class A1 misdemeanor.

A Class A1 misdemeanor is punishable by 1 to 60 days of probation, supervised probation, or jail time. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by 1 to 45 days of probation or jail time.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the more severe assault charge in North Carolina, and it is a Class E or Class C felony, depending on the circumstances of the alleged charge. In general, for an assault offense to be a felony, it either needs to involve very serious injuries or use of a deadly weapon.

Assault with a deadly weapon, when coupled with serious injury or deadly intent, is a Class E felony. A Class E felony may be punishable by 15 to 31 months in prison.

Assault with a deadly weapon is a Class C felony when both intent to kill and serious injury are present. If convicted of a Class C felony, the offender could be punished by a prison term between 44 and 98 months.

Contact Raleigh Defense Attorney Dewey Brinkley

Whether convicted of misdemeanor assault or felony assault, it’s critical to contact a prominent and skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we’ve successfully defended many individuals charged with assault in North Carolina, and we have the legal resources and know-how to help you too.

To speak with attorney Brinkley regarding the details of your case, call our Raleigh law firm at (919) 832-0307. Free consultations are available.

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