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When Does Misdemeanor Assault Become a Felony?

In the state of North Carolina, there are three types of misdemeanor assault crimes.

While the vast majority of individuals charged with assault will face a misdemeanor, there are instances where the prosecution may opt for a felony charge.

Therefore, if you are arrested for assault of any kind, it is imperative that you understand how the statute dictates charges, and work with a criminal defense attorney to ensure your simple assault does not turn into a life-altering issue.

Misdemeanor Assault or Simple Assault Charges

Most misdemeanor assault cases are known as “Simple” assault offenses. These are charged as Class 2 misdemeanors, and the victim of the crime has only suffered minor injuries. The injuries rarely require doctor attention, and the defendant has no previous convictions for assault or other violent acts.

However, North Carolina General Statute Section 14-33 does offer harsher penalties for simple misdemeanor assault, and there are enhancements based on the circumstances of how your assault case came about.

Punishments and Classes of Misdemeanor Assaults

1. Class 1 Misdemeanor

A Class 1 misdemeanor is typically punished with probation and a jail sentence of one to 45 days. The judge can enhance the sentence to as many as 120 days if you have a prior criminal record. Also, you could face a fine that is at the discretion of the court.

2. Class A1 Misdemeanor

With a Class A1 offense, you will have a supervised probation or jail sentence that ranges from one to 60 days. The judge will likely impose a fine, and if you have a prior history of assault convictions, the judge has the right to enhance up to 150 days in jail.

Also, if you are convicted of domestic violence, you will face enhanced penalties through the judge, which may mean longer probationary periods or up to 30 more days in jail.

What Offenses Could Transform a Misdemeanor Assault into a Felony Charge?

Most assault cases are misdemeanors, but some factors can force a prosecutor to seek felony charges against you through North Carolina Statute Section 14-32.

4 Felony-Worthy Assault Offenses

  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Any assault with a deadly weapon or tool that could cause death could result in a felony assault charge.
  • Intent to Kill, Result in Serious Bodily Injury: If you assault with the intent to kill someone, and it results in serious bodily injury, you may face a Class C felony charge.
  • No Intent to Kill, Serious Bodily Injury Resulted: Even if you did not intend to kill, if your assault with a deadly weapon results in serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a Class E felony.
  • Intent to Kill, No Bodily Injury Resulted: If you had the intention of killing someone, but you did not injure them, you will still be charged with a Class E felony for assaulting with a deadly weapon.

Avoid the Lifetime Consequences of a Felony Conviction, Speak with an Assault Defense Attorney Immediately

If you have been accused of assault or assault with a deadly weapon, contacting a defense attorney is critical. An attorney can help you with your case and potentially have the charges decreased from felony status to a misdemeanor. Not all instances of assault with a deadly weapon should be accused of such a serious, life-altering crime.

To preserve your freedom and avoid a lifetime of felony conviction consequences, contact DeMent Askew’s team of criminal defense attorneys.

Contact our offices now at 919-833-5555 to schedule a no-obligation consult with a lawyer, or inquire online.