There are over 20,000 aggravated assault offenses and nearly 100,000 simple assault offenses every year in North Carolina, according to the NC State Bureau of Investigation Annual Summary Reports. The offenses range from non-physical confrontation to serious injury, and the punishments also range from mild to severe.
While assault or battery may result in criminal charges and punishment, this often does little to provide the care and treatment necessary for the person injured. This is when a civil lawsuit may help the injured person further move on from the trauma of the assault or battery and receive the medical and other care often needed.
Below, we will discuss different types of assaults, the aggravating factors, the penalties, and defenses of assault and battery cases.
Difference Between Assault, Assault and Battery, and Affray
Assault and battery is a general reference to violence against another person, but there are actually three different types of assault-related offenses in North Carolina. The three NC misdemeanor assault and battery crimes are:
- Assault: an attempt to commit assault and battery. Physical contact is not required; intimidation or causing fear of physical harm is a chargeable offense.
- Assault and Battery: physically injuring another person
- Affray: a public altercation between two or more parties, usually in an attempt to cause fear in other people
A “simple assault” is the least serious assault offense. Simple assault usually includes someone unlawfully touching someone or threatening someone when it appears the offender can carry out the threat. Simple assault is elevated to “aggravated assault” when one or more aggravating factors are involved. The types of aggravating factors are as follows.
North Carolina statutes do not define serious injury, but it involves any injury that may require medical treatment. It is not dependent on whether or not the victim was actually treated by a doctor.
Use of Deadly Weapon
A “deadly weapon” is anything that could be used to cause serious bodily harm or death. A deadly weapon is not limited to traditional weapons, like guns and knives, and may include a broken bottle, heavy objects, a vehicle, belt, and more.
An assault involving persons with a “personal relationship.” The NC assault and battery statutes define “personal relationship” as those between a spouse, former spouse, dating partner, parent of your child, grandchild, household member, and an underaged child that is in the defendant’s care.
Sexual contact or physical contact with the intent of sexual contact that is committed with force and against the victim’s will. There are also special protections for victims who are mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, physically helpless or physically disabled.
Assaulting an umpire, coach, referee, or other sports official is considered an aggravated assault. A sports official includes any official at an officially organized event, such as professional sporting events, kids sports league event, and school competitions.
Victims with Special Protections
Simple assault can be elevated to aggravated assault if committed against particular victims, including:
- women, when the defendant is a male over the age of 18
- children under the age of 12
- officer or employee of the state, if the assault occurs while the victim is performing their official duties
- school employee or volunteer who is on school property, at a school event, or transporting children to and from school or school events
Can I Sue My Attacker if I Am a Victim of Assault and Battery?
Yes, you can sue your attacker(s) for damages whether or not the attacker has been convicted of the crime, or even charged with the crime. If you have suffered damages because of another’s wrongful actions, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Victims of assault, assault and battery, or affray may be entitled to both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages include damages such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are considered punishment based on the reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct and ability to pay. If the defendant’s conduct is found to be especially harmful, the victim may be awarded compensation in addition to actual damages.
North Carolina Assault and Battery Lawyer
If you are an assault victim in the Asheville, NC or the surrounding area, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help. We specialize in personal injury law and can provide aggressive legal help to get you the compensation, and justice, you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and possible plans of action.