North Carolina takes any violent crime, or offense upon a person, very seriously. If you've been accused of a violent crime, not only do you risk facing criminal penalties, you risk facing problems in job, housing and loan applications, and even in your personal relationships. An experienced defense attorney can help fight for favorable outcomes, such as case dismissal and not guilty verdicts.
Pollenz Law will fight for your rights if you've been accused of assault, disorderly conduct or any other violent crime. We will challenge the prosecutor's evidence and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. We will also maintain an open line of communication with you so that you'll know what's going on in your case. We are based in Raleigh and represent clients clients across the Triangle.
Assault and assault/battery are some of the most common violent crimes in the state. Although not specifically defined in the North Carolina Criminal Code, an assault is the act of intentionally putting someone in fear of bodily injury, and battery is an unwanted intentional touching of another person. The law also outlaws participating in an "affray," more commonly referred to as fighting. An assault or assault/battery by itself is a Class 2 misdemeanor. (North Carolina General Statutes § 14-33)
Certain factors can elevate an assault charge, including:
- If the person was a child younger than 12, a state, city or county employee, a school employee or volunteer, a bus driver, a security guard, or if a man assaults a woman, the charges go up to a Class A1 misdemeanor.
- Using a deadly weapon, including pointing a gun at a person, will also elevate the assault to Class A1.
- Assaulting a law enforcement officer is a Class I felony, or a Class F felony if the officer is seriously injured.
- Assaulting a person with a deadly weapon is a Class E felony, and is a Class C felony if the person is seriously injured. (N.C.G.S. § 14-32)
Another common violent crime charge is kidnapping, which means confining, restraining, or involuntarily taking a person from one place to another, in order to hold that person ransom, use him or her as a shield, facilitate another felony, help the accused or another person escape after committing a felony, do serious bodily harm to the victim, terrorize the victim or anyone else, or make them work against their will, including as a sex worker. If the victim suffered serious bodily injury or was sexually assaulted in the course of kidnapping, the charge is a Class C felony. If the victim was not, it is a Class E felony. (N.C.G.S. § 14-39) Abduction of children, which involves the accused taking or enticing away children from the parents, agency or institution that is legally entitled to custody, is a Class F felony. This includes if you are the biological parent, but have lost custody rights. (N.C.G.S. § 14-41)
- First degree murder is the willful, deliberate and premeditated killing of a person, or a killing done to perpetuate an arson, rape or sex offense, robbery, kidnapping, burglary or other felony committed with a deadly weapon. It is a Class A felony. (N.C.G.S. § 14-17)
- Second degree murder is a killing committed with malice, meaning there was intent to injure a person. It is a Class B1 felony, unless the death was caused by an inherently dangerous act or by distributing an illegal drug, in which case it is a Class B2 felony. (N.C.G.S. § 14-17)
- Voluntary manslaughter means intentionally killing without premeditation or malice, but rather the "heat of the moment." It is a Class D felony. (N.C.G.S. § 14-18)
- Involuntary manslaughter is when a person is killed because of the careless and willfully neglectful actions of the accused. It is a Class F felony. (N.C.G.S. § 14-18)
Other Violent Crimes in the Triangle
Disorderly conduct is a public disturbance in which the accused intentionally engages in fighting or other violent behavior or makes any kind of statement or gesture that is likely to provoke violent behavior. Disorderly conduct charges can be particularly harmful in the Triangle because specific elements of the charges may pertain to schools, both public, like the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill or North Carolina State University, and private, like Duke University. A person may be charged with disorderly conduct if he or she takes control of a school building or refuses to vacate after being told to do so by an official. A person may also face charges of disorderly conduct for protesting at a school.
Penalties for Violent Crimes
The length of time a person may serve if convicted depends on the class of the crime. North Carolina uses a "structured sentencing" system, in which those with prior convictions face greater jail time. The following are the ranges of prison time if the conviction is the defendant's first.
- Class A felony: Life without parole, or death
- Class B1 felony: 192-240 months
- Class B2 felony: 125-157 months
- Class C felony: 58-73 months
- Class D felony: 51-64 months
- Class E felony: 20-25 months
- Class F felony: 13-16 months
- Class H felony: 5-6 months
- Class I felony: 4-6 months
- Class A1 misdemeanor: 1-60 days
- Class 1 misdemeanor: 1-45 days
- Class 2 misdemeanor: 1-30 days
In some misdemeanor cases, a community punishment, like community service, may be available. Pollenz Law can help negotiate these sentences for you.
Contact Pollenz Law
If you've been accused of a violent crime, or any other crime, having an experienced attorney on your side can make the difference between freedom and jail time. It is vital that you retain the immediate representation of Pollenz Law. We will seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed, and we will stand by you throughout the proceedings. The right attorney may make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Make the smart choice – contact Pollenz Law today.