Does assault have to result in a physical injury?

The idea of an assault charge likely makes you think about physical injury. For many people, the definition of assault means you make physical contact with someone else at a minimum. You may wonder if assault must always include physical contact and harm.

However, according to the North Carolina General Assembly, assault does not have to include physical contact or injury. It depends largely on the situation and your actions as to whether you commit assault. Generally, if there is physical harm, then you will also have an assault charge, but you may still have an assault charge without physical harm due to the way the law defines it.

Assault definition

Under the law, physical harm falls under the classification of battery. Assault is the actions you take leading to the physical harm. It could simply be an intent you express to harm someone else. Assault boils down to the threat of harm. Once you make physical contact, it becomes assault and battery.

However, some assault charges do include physical contact, such as assault inflicting serious bodily injury or assault with a deadly weapon.

Assault examples

There are a variety of situations in which you could face assault charges. The charge can be a felony of different classes, but it also may be a misdemeanor. It can involve a deadly weapon or not. It can even happen without the awareness of the other person, such as making threats against someone but telling the threats to other people and not the intended victim.

Some types of assault are more serious under the law. For example, assaulting someone with a disability would increase the penalties. Assault can also happen in medical situations or when caring for an elderly individual. It can also include domestic incidents between people in a relationship or who live together.