North Carolina classifies misdemeanors and felonies to identify which penalties go with which illegal activity. Assault charges could be a Class 2 misdemeanor, but many factors raise the level of the charge and the corresponding punishments.
Under certain circumstances, an assault conviction may be a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Who the alleged victim is, where the offense takes place and when it happens are usually all relevant to this level of assault. Statute 14-33(c) explains that serious injury or the use of a deadly weapon will elevate the classification of the offense. It also will if an adult male assaults a child under 12 years old or a female.
This level also applies to assaults on law enforcement officers and state employees who are doing their duty, as well as school employees and volunteers performing job duties. For school workers, duties refer to any activity on the property, at school events or in transit and all activities that relate to school transportation. That could mean a teacher on a field trip, a parent chaperone at a dance or a bus driver taking students home.
Finally, assault is a Class A1 misdemeanor when the victims are ride-share drivers or public transit operators currently providing services.
Statute 15A-1340.23 includes a chart for misdemeanor punishments. The judge has the authority to set the fine, but it is not likely to be lower than $1,000, which is the penalty for Class 2 misdemeanors.
The sentence may be one to 60 days if it is a first offense. The law also authorizes the judge to choose alternatives to incarceration such as supervised probation or house arrest. So, depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s argument or plea, the outcome may not result in jail time.
Convictions for violent offenses such as assault are not eligible for expunction, but dismissed charges and not guilty rulings may be. Thus, a strong defense strategy is key.