Understanding Assault with a Deadly Weapon in NC

assault with a deadly weapon defense attorney raleigh

Assault with a deadly weapon is a serious crime, but it is not a simple one as there are several factors that can depend on whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony if you’re accused of this crime. To shed some light on this topic as well as what you can expect, our criminal defense attorney in Wake County is breaking down more information on this violent crime

What Is Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

Let’s look at the basics first before delving into the details. In North Carolina, assault with a deadly weapon occurs when an individual harms someone or credibly threatens harm with a deadly weapon. While the General Statute doesn’t define what is or is not a deadly weapon, it generally is assumed that it’s any item that could kill another individual, such as a gun, knife, or blunt object, such as a hammer or lead pipe. 

Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is a Class A1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. This is the charge when a simple assault or affray is carried out with a deadly weapon but the victim is not seriously harmed nor was there an attempt to kill the victim using the weapon. This crime is punishable by up to 60 days in jail for a first offense or 150 days if the accused has prior convictions, so while it’s a misdemeanor, it should still be treated very seriously. 

Elevating Misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon

While we will go into more about specific felony charges below, there are factors that will elevate a misdemeanor charge to a felony, even if there is no serious injury. Assault with a deadly weapon on a disabled person, government employee, police officer, or first responder is a Class F felony.

Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Far more common, and far more serious is a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon but to face the felony charge, the accused must either have caused serious injury and/or intended to kill the victim.  

Serious Injury

The North Carolina General Statute does not specifically define what a serious injury is, but it is generally understood that the victim required medical treatment to recover from the assault. For example, a stab wound requiring multiple stitches or surgery may be charged as a serious injury caused by assault with a deadly weapon. 

Intent to Kill

The accused will face felony assault with a deadly weapon charge if the investigators conclude that the accused intended to kill the victim using the weapon. 

If either of these factors are present, the crime is punishable as a Class E felony which carries between 15 to 31 months in prison, depending on the following factors: 

  • How serious the case is
  • Whether there are presumptive or mitigating factors that will increase or lessen the sentence
  • Prior felony convictions (which can extend imprisonment up to 63 months).

If both factors are present, the charge is elevated to a Class C felony, which is punishable with a sentence of 44 to 98 months imprisonment. Again, severity, presumptive or mitigating factors, and prior convictions may change the sentence. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation Today

If you are accused of assault with a deadly weapon, you need legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Wake County. At Coolidge Law Firm, we are dedicated to fighting for our clients, advocating for their rights, and crafting powerful defense strategies. Reach out to us today for a free case consultation by calling us at (919) 239-8448 or filling out the form below to get started. 

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