You can be charged with assault for threatening someone with bodily harm in a manner that reasonably causes them fear. In general, a battery charge requires some type of physical contact.
North Carolina recognizes three types of misdemeanor assault and battery crimes: assault and battery, which involves physically injuring someone else assault, which is the attempt to commit an assault and battery, or a show of force indicating that an assault and battery is imminent, and affray, a fight between two or more people in a public place, likely to frighten others. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § § 14-32 and 14-33.)
State v. Roberts, 270 N.C. 655, 658 (1967) set precedent for assault to be defined as any overt act or attempt or the unequivocal appearance of attempt, with force or violence, to immediately physically injury another person, with the show of force or menace of violence being sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear of immediate physical injury. In other words, assault is any action which shows force or violence and causes a reasonable person to fear for he/she will suffer immediate physical injury.
North Carolina also recognizes battery as a form of assault. According to State v. West, 146 N.C. App. 741, 744 (2001), battery includes the application of force, no matter how slight, directly or indirectly, to another. The most common example of a battery is one person hitting or punching another person. Since this form of assault includes an actual touching, fear from the receiving party is not necessary.
If you have been charged with simple assault, you stand the chance of being convicted of a class 2 misdemeanor under North Carolina General Statute 14-33(a). The maximum punishment is 60 days incarceration and the potential of up to a $1,000 fine.
If you have been charged with simple assault, contact our office at 828-631-2500 to schedule your free consultation.