In many jurisdictions, simple assault is listed as a separate crime from battery. Assault is typically defined as a failed attempt at battery or placing a victim in fear of an immediate battery. The common definition of battery is the application of force or an offensive touching done without the victim’s consent. The force may or may not cause an injury to the victim.

What Is North Carolina’s Simple Assault Law?

North Carolina does not have a traditional assault law. Instead, assault is listed alongside battery and simple affray in the same criminal statute, and all three crimes are punished the same way. However, a person can be charged with only simple assault, rather than being charged with simple assault and battery.

Does Simple Assault Involve Violence?

No. Simple assault is the lowest assault offense a person can be convicted of in North Carolina. It does not involve any aggravating factors, such as violence or the use of a deadly weapon.

What Is the Punishment for Simple Assault in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina law, simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The punishment for simple assault consists of one to 30 days of community punishment. However, if a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor in the past, they will face a more severe punishment. If a person has one to four prior convictions, then they will be subjected to one to 45 days of community punishment or intermediate punishment. Anyone with five or more convictions will receive one to 60 days of active punishment, intermediate punishment, or community punishment.

What Are Active, Intermediate, and Community Punishment?

North Carolina has three different categories of punishment: active, intermediate, and community. Active punishment for a misdemeanor is jail time. Intermediate punishment can involve time in jail, but it usually consists of supervised probation and could include:

  • Home incarceration and/or satellite-based monitoring
  • Enrollment in a drug treatment court program
  • Community service
  • Substance abuse assessment, monitoring, or treatment

Community punishment is the lightest form of punishment. It typically involves a fine and/or supervised or unsupervised probation, and may also include:

  • House arrest
  • Period of confinement in a local confinement facility
  • Community service
  • Satellite-based monitoring
  • Substance abuse treatment, assessment, or monitoring

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A simple assault charge can be difficult to contest without the assistance of legal representation. If you are accused of simple assault, contact a North Carolina lawyer.