Assault is the criminal act of placing a victim in fear of an immediate battery. In North Carolina, it may also be a failed attempted battery. A battery is the use, or application, of force against a victim. While assault and battery are often categorized as misdemeanor crimes, they can also be felonies if certain elements are present.

What Is Class E Felony Assault?

There are a few ways that an assault can be a Class E felony instead of just a misdemeanor in North Carolina. The first way that a person can end up facing a Class E felony charge is if they assault another person with a deadly weapon and inflict serious injury upon the victim. An example of this would be where a person waves a gun in front of a victim to place them in fear of an imminent battery. However, the person is accused of not only creating fear in the victim by using a deadly weapon, but actually causing serious injury. The injury may be a serious bruise or broken bone.

Another way that a person can end up facing a Class E felony assault charge is if they use a deadly weapon to commit an assault while possessing an intent to kill the victim. A person is also guilty of a Class E felony assault if they use a firearm to commit the assault against a law enforcement officer, probation officer, member of the North Carolina National Guard, or an employee of a detention facility such as a jail while they are performing their duties in their respective role.

How Does North Caroline Define Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

Under North Carolina law, assault with a deadly weapon is any assault done with a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon is any instrument used to inflict harm on someone. The instrument could be a gun, knife, baseball bat, or stick.

What Is Intent to Kill?

Intent to kill is the intent to end another person’s life. It is a specific intent that a person must possess in order to be guilty if it is an element of the applicable crime.

Is Serious Bodily Harm Any Kind of Physical Harm?

No. Serious bodily harm is any physical harm that significantly interferes with a victim’s comfort or health. The harm may be short-lived instead of permanent. Serious bodily harm includes:

  • Deep or extensive cuts
  • Serious bruises
  • Scarring or serious disfigurement

What Kind of Punishment Can I Get If I Am Convicted of This Crime?

In North Carolina, a first conviction for a Class E felony will result in an active punishment or an intermediate punishment of 20 to 25 months. If a person receives an active punishment, then they will serve their entire sentence in prison. However, if a person receives an intermediate punishment, then they may receive special probation, where they will spend part of the sentence in prison and the rest of the time on supervised probation, or a full sentence of supervised probation. A person may also be subjected to house arrest, enrollment in a court-appointed program for drug treatment, and/or satellite-based monitoring as part of their intermediate punishment. Additionally, a person’s sentence may be lengthened if they have prior felony convictions  to up to 50 months in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Assault Case?

Any felony charge should be taken seriously, regardless of the circumstances. If you are charged with felony assault, contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer immediately.