Facing a criminal charge of any kind can be a daunting and stressful experience, and the outcome of your case could potentially influence the rest of your life. However, cases pertaining to violent crimes like assault and battery are especially precarious, often leading to years in prison, permanent damage to the defendant’s personal and professional life, and various other penalties.
“Assault” is a commonly misunderstood crime in North Carolina. The definition of assault includes making a threat of harm against another person or posturing in a way that presents a clear threat of harm. When an individual then proceeds to make physical contact with the other party, the offense escalates to assault and battery.
Depending on the circumstances, a Union County, North Carolina assault charge can be classified as a felony or misdemeanor. Regardless of the particular charge, the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, in Monroe will defend your rights, investigate the facts, and raise any pertinent defenses. Cases arising from physical altercations can be complicated, and the reporting officer often does not have a full understanding of the situation. With a legacy that dates back to 1961, our firm is committed to securing the fundamental rights of our clients through case preparation and skilled advocacy. Attorney Carol Huffman Kendrick has the ability and insight to evaluate cases promptly and guide accused individuals toward successful results whether the case goes to court or concludes with a fair plea bargain.
An assault charge can easily lead to severe penalties. For example, you may have been defending yourself and arrested, or the police officers who responded to the incident in question may not have followed appropriate procedures. These are just a few examples of the potential defenses you may need to employ to avoid conviction in an assault case. However, even if you know you did not commit the offense in question, you should not expect to handle your case on your own. Even if you think you can clarify the situation by explaining your side of events, there is no incentive for the police or prosecution to help you prove your innocence.
U.S. citizens have the right to defense representation when accused of a crime. The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick in Monroe, NC maintains an easily manageable caseload to ensure we can offer the full scope of our attention and resources to every client we represent. Once you secure our firm’s representation to defend you against assault charges, we will carefully review the details of the situation and help you through the preliminary stages of your case as efficiently as possible.
It’s vital to secure defense representation as quickly as possible after arrest. Having a local attorney can benefit your case immensely. Our team has solid professional relationships with local court staff, prosecutors, and judges, providing our clients a legal edge through the insights we can offer. Our goal in every case we accept is case dismissal, if possible, or seeking the lightest possible sentence when a conviction is a certainty in light of compelling prosecutorial evidence.
If you’ve been accused of an assault or a related charge associated with an alleged physical confrontation, it’s important to understand your rights and the consequences of these allegations. We have handled these cases for more than 20 years. Starting with a initial consultation, we can help determine if the charges are appropriate and if self-defense or another type of defense can be raised to counter allegations of:
Even when the purported harm is not severe, an individual can face severe punishment. Before you decide on a course of action, it’s best to gain a thoughtful perspective on your situation and legal options.
It’s common for defendants facing prosecution for assault charges to overlook some of their defense options, mistakenly believing their situations to be hopeless. The most commonly cited defense in assault cases is self-defense. North Carolina law maintains that individuals have the right to defend themselves with physical or even deadly force if necessary, but it must be clear that the party they are defending against poses a severe threat of physical injury or death.
North Carolina upholds two important self-defense laws that may come into play in some assault cases. The first is the Stand Your Ground law, meaning that you have no duty to retreat if someone else poses a reasonable risk of physical harm. Instead, you are allowed to defend yourself in this situation using reasonable force. For example, if someone attempts to punch you in the face, you can block and engage in defensive actions, but you would not have the right to shoot them dead with a concealed firearm. However, if another party presented a deadly weapon and intended to use it against you, you would be legally justified in using deadly force to protect yourself.
The second important law is the Castle Doctrine, which applies inside your home. If another party intrudes into your home, attempts to burglarize your home while you are inside, or enters your home with apparent malicious intent to do you harm, you have the right to defend yourself against the threat using whatever means are reasonable for the situation.
Your Union County, North Carolina assault defense attorney may use several methods to help you prove self-defense in your assault case. For example, if you were arrested after a bar fight that you did not instigate, your attorney may seek security camera recordings and take statements from bar patrons who can explain how the situation unfolded, potentially proving you acted purely in self-defense.
North Carolina enforces a relatively complex set of standards for determining the penalties for assault and assault and battery. Prosecutors will evaluate the defendant’s criminal history and numerous other factors to determine the nature of the charge. In most cases, simple assault and simple assault and battery qualify as Class 2 misdemeanors, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, a Class 2 misdemeanor assault charge may be escalated to a Class A1 misdemeanor in several situations:
Class A1 misdemeanor sentencing typically comes down to the judge’s discretion, but the defendant should expect to spend up to 150 days in jail, fines, and additional penalties.
Assault can qualify for felony prosecution when the defendant uses a deadly weapon, inflicts a severe injury, or acts with intent to kill. A felony conviction can lead to several years in state prison, much heavier fines than misdemeanor convictions, and other penalties at the judge’s discretion.
It’s vital for anyone facing assault charges to understand that they may face criminal prosecution for their actions and civil liability for any damages they cause to victims. For example, if you committed an assault and battery and sent the victim to the hospital, the judge handling your criminal case may include restitution to the victim as part of your sentence. However, the victim would also have grounds to file a civil personal injury claim against you. Your conviction in criminal court would likely be all they would need to firmly establish your liability for their civil damages.
The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, advises North Carolina clients who have been charged with assault-related crimes or other charges. Please call 704-283-1529 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation at our office in Monroe.