Asheville Assault & Battery Attorney

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Asheville Assault & Battery Lawyer

Although commonly used in conjunction with each other, assault and battery are two separate charges. However, both charges come with significant penalties that can include excessive fines and jail or prison time. They can also have long-lasting impacts, such as difficulty securing employment, housing, or additional educational opportunities.

To avoid the lasting effects of these charges, consult the criminal defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law. We can put our experience and knowledge to work for you. With our help, we can review the details of your case and determine the best defense for it. While we ultimately seek your acquittal, we can push for a full dismissal of charges or a reduction of charges.

Types of Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are two separate charges. Assault is defined as a threat of violence or physical harm directed at another person who reasonably believes the threat to be true. There is no actual physical contact between the victim and the accused potential assailant in the case of assault. Battery occurs when there is unwanted physical contact with another individual. It is a safe assumption that if a person commits battery, they also commit assault. However, if a person commits assault, they do not necessarily commit battery.

The most common forms of these charges include:

  • Simple Assault: This is the most basic form of the charge. This label implies that there were no injuries during the alleged crime. In addition, there may not have been any weapons used in the incident, which consisted solely of the threat of harm.
  • Simple Battery: This label is used to cover a variety of incidents where unwanted physical contact occurs. The contact is often forced on the victim. However, the victim does not suffer any significant injuries.
  • Aggravated Assault: This charge is when a deadly weapon is used as part of a threat or coercive action towards another that leads them to believe that significant harm may occur. There are often significant injuries associated with this.
  • Aggravated Battery: When unwanted physical contact between two individuals occurs and involves the use of a deadly weapon, the charges could add the “aggravated” description. This can also occur if the crime is committed against a child, a person with mental disabilities, an elderly individual, or any other person deemed to be part of a vulnerable group.
  • Sexual Assault and Battery: Forceful physical contact in a sexual manner is considered sexual assault and battery. Often, these crimes are associated with domestic violence cases. They can even include the use of a deadly weapon.

While these represent the basic charges a person could face, the circumstances of each individual case will determine any additional charges that may be added. Each charge will carry various penalties.

Mitigating factors that could play a role in charges and potential penalties include:

  • The extent of the harm that was caused
  • The level of harm that was attempted or threatened
  • Whether the victim is considered a protected person, such as a child, woman, or government official
  • The tools or objects used in the commission of the crime
  • Whether the alleged victim was considered to be in your care or if you had authority over them

Other assault and battery charges include:

  • Assault or battery in the presence of a minor
  • Assault or battery by pointing or using a gun
  • Assault or battery inflicting severe injury
  • Assault or battery with a deadly weapon

While these do not represent all the charges a person could face, they show the variety and range of potential charges a prosecutor will attempt to use against a suspect.

Penalties for Assault and Battery

Assault and battery charges in North Carolina can be considered either misdemeanors or felonies. For individuals without any prior convictions, many less serious misdemeanors, such as simple assault or simple battery, could result in as little as 30 days in jail, fines up to $1000, victim restitution, or community service. If a person has a conviction or faces subsequent assault and battery convictions, the penalties could increase, including a rise in jail time to 60 days.

Misdemeanor-level aggravated or sexual assault and battery is considered a Class A1 or Class 1 offense. A conviction may result in penalties that include up to 150 days in jail, extensive fines, and even supervised probation.

If charged with felony assault or battery, the crime likely involved the use of a deadly weapon. The penalties faced if convicted are determined by whether the jury believes there was intent to kill the victim with the weapon. Penalties could include up to 8 years in prison and extensive fines, among others.

Common Defenses for Assault and Battery

Choosing the right defense for your assault and battery case can help you avoid long-term penalties that can go beyond prison time or fines. Relying on the advice of an expert defense attorney, common options to choose from include:

  • Self-Defense: If you feel that your physical or mental well-being is at risk of being harmed because of an aggressor, you are allowed to defend yourself within reason. “Within reason” means that other individuals in the same situation would likely respond in the same way.
  • Defense of Others: This can apply if your actions were intentionally taken to help another individual avoid unwanted physical or emotional harm. However, you may not be the aggressor in your defense. The defense must be reasonable in that others who are in the same situation would react in the same manner.
  • Consent: If the incident between two people was mutual, and both parties agreed to the incident through action or words, then there is a high likelihood that you are not the aggressor. You may not be charged with a crime.
  • Coercion or Duress: If the person who committed the crime can prove they did so because they were coerced or pressured by another individual to commit the crime, then they may not be responsible for the charges. To prove this, the defendant must show that a reasonable person in the same situation would respond in a similar way to protect themselves.

In addition to these defenses, an attorney could seek to have the case dismissed. They might be able to prove that there was a lack of evidence or that the prosecution failed to meet the burden of proof.

Asheville Assault and Battery Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges of any kind can be difficult and confusing, often leaving you with more questions than answers. If you have been charged with assault and battery, you should have a team on your side that has the answers to guide you in the right direction. At Doug Edwards Law, we are the team that you need. We know every case is different. We will take the time to understand yours so we can build the right defense to help. Contact our offices today.

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