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N.C.G.S. 14-33 Assault on Female

1. Elements of the Criminal Offense

Assault on a Female North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-33(c)(2) establishes the charge as a Class A1 Misdemeanor Offense. All assault and battery charges are serious, carrying the potential for long-term consequences including jail, probation, and community service.

Each case is different. That’s one reason it’s important to immediately consult with a criminal lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options. Do not delay in talking to a lawyer.

Start your defense immediately. Time is often key in presenting an effective defense.

In order to prove you guilty of Assault on a Female, the Assistant District Attorney assigned to prosecute the matter must prove the following prima facie elements to the satisfaction of the Finder of Fact.

In District Court, the Finder of Fact is the District Court Judge. The State bears both the burden of proof and burden of production.

All criminal charges, consistent with the Constitution must be proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

The essential elements of the crime are:

  1. The alleged victim is a female
  2. The defendant is a male
  3. The defendant’s act was intentional and not a accidental
  4. There was no lawful excuse or common law defense
  5. The alleged victim did not consent
  6. The defendant “assaulted” a female
  7. The defendant was at the time of the offense at least 18 years old

Assault charges in North Carolina are not specifically defined in the NC Criminal Laws. Both assault and assault and battery are Common Law offenses.

The General Assembly in Chapter 14 of the criminal laws have set forth the punishments for assault and the related charge of Assault on a Female.

“Attempted Assault,” contrary to some other jurisdictions in the United States, is a valid criminal charge in North Carolina. The State must prove the defendant attempted to assault, by an overt act, another person.

It may also be proven with evidence of a use of force or violence that the Defendant intended to cause immediate physical harm or injury to the victim.

Assault is not technically the same as battery. Touching the victim or physical contact with the person bringing the charges is not required.

Criminal charges may also be brought with evidence of an attempt to use violence to injure someone. The intent necessary would be the intent to do harm or the intent to commit an act that is violent.

As such, the assault may not be accidental.

North Carolina recognizes multiple different types of assault, including but not limited to:

  1. Simple Assault
  2. Affray
  3. Assault Inflicting Serious Injury
  4. Assault by Pointing a Gun
  5. Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  6. Assault on a Child
  7. Assault on a Female
  8. Assault by Strangulation
  9. Assault on a Government Official
  10. Assault on a Handicapped Person

If the defendant and the alleged victim are married, have a child together, have dated, had a sexual relationship, and/or resided with one-another, there are instances where the assaultive behavior may be deemed by the courts “Acts of Domestic Violence.”

Domestic violence is not technically a separate criminal charge, but the Courts give special consideration to DV charges in Raleigh, including determining the manner in which bond is set and establishing the terms and conditions for release.

2. Examples of Assault on a Female (AOF)

a. A 33 year old woman “takes a swing” at her coworker, attempting to punch her in the face. She misses, but barely grazes the coworker’s shoulder. The coworker does not see the thrown punch. The “victim” is a 26 year old female. The defendant cannot not be convicted of Assault on a Female. While the victim is female, the defendant is not a male. The defendant may be charged and possibly convicted of simple assault.

b. A 16 year old male slaps his mother across the face. After his arrest and release from jail, the Defendant runs away, thus becoming a fugitive from justice. When the matter comes on for hearing, the Defendant is not present. The Court issues an Order for Arrest or “OFA” directing law enforcement officials to arrest the Defendant on sight. Defendant is not arrested for more than two years. Eventually he is taken into custody and a trial is held, where the Defendant pleads not guilty when arraigned on the charge of assault on a female. The Defendant cannot be found guilty in that at the time of the offense he was not 18 years old or older. Defendant may be convicted of simple assault. The State may also bring a separate misdemeanor charge for failing to appear in court and answer the charges against him.

c. A 33 year old man slaps his 11 year old daughter across the face for “backtalking.” The slap leaves a red mark on her cheek that fades after a few hours. There is no bruising or other visible injury the next day. The 11 year old tells her teacher, “Daddy hit me yesterday.” In response, the teacher contacts the Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services branch to initiate an inquiry. Thereafter the DSS “substantiates” a claim for abuse, neglect, or dependency. The social worker also reports the incident to the Raleigh Police Department. Defendant gives a full voluntary statement to the investigating officer, stating, “She’s 11 years old. She used profane language. I won’t be talked to that way. Yes, I slapped her across the face. She’s fine.” Defendant is charged with both Assault on a Female and Assault on a Child Under the Age of 12 and arrested. Defendant is held for two days (48 hours) before he is released on a $2,500 secured bond. While the Defendant may be charged with a criminal offense, whether or not he is ultimately convicted likely would rely on whether, as a parent, he may slap his 11 year old child for backtalking. North Carolina allows parents to use reasonable force in administering corporal punishment. As such, without more substantial injuries, a conviction for assault would be at best problematic for the prosecutor.

3. Related Raleigh Criminal Charges

Other common and possibly related Wake County matters may involve:

  1. Assault Charges
  2. Domestic Violence
  3. Kidnapping
  4. Restraining Orders
4. Defenses to Assault on a Female

Common Law offenses, unless specifically repealed by statute, are still both recognized and prosecuted in North Carolina. As such, traditional Common Law defenses remain viable including:

  1. Necessity Defenses
    1. Defense of Others
    2. Defense of Property
    3. Defense of Self or “Self Defense”
  2. Consent
  3. Accident

Assault on a Female by a Male Person is a very serious criminal charge. Due to its classification as a Class A1 Misdemeanor, a conviction of Assault on Female allows the sentencing Judge to impose harsh penalties.

As is the case with any Class A1 Misdemeanor, which is the highest-level misdemeanor in North Carolina, penalties may include but are not limited to:

  1. Active Period of Confinement / Imprisonment of up to 150 Days
  2. Probation
    1. Supervised Probation
    2. Unsupervised Probation
  3. Costs of Court, Fines, Monthly Supervised Probation Fees
  4. Community Service
  5. Civil Judgment for Restitution to the Victim
  6. Alcohol / Drug Treatment
  7. Drug Screening and Urinalysis
  8. House Arrest, Electronic Monitoring
  9. Mental Health Assessment and Treatment
6. Criminal Defense for Assault on a Female Cases

Assault on a Female Cases Crimes of violence can affect you long-term. The most serious level of misdemeanor charges are those classified as a Class A1 offense.

An active term of imprisonment is a very real possibility depending on a series of factors including:

  1. Your prior criminal history and record of convictions
  2. The level of injury sustained by the victim
  3. The nature and circumstances of how the “assault” took place

In some instances, a Class A1 Misdemeanor carries more consequences than even a low-level (Class H or Class I) felony.

Each case is different.

It’s important to immediately consult with a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney, even you are only being investigated by the police. Statements you make have the potential to be used against you in court.

You have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Do not say anything.

Advise law enforcement you are “taking the fifth.” Ask to speak with a criminal lawyer. In so doing, be polite.

If you are in jail, do not discuss the specifics of the offense with anyone, including friends or family. Jail phone conversations in Wake County may be recorded and used against you in trial.

That's true too for jail video conferences.

One aspect of assault charges in Wake County may involve a CIVIL cause of action for a Domestic Violence Protection Order or “DVPO.” That is a separate legal proceeding and is a type of restraining order.

If the assault on a female charge involves a family member, someone you’ve lived with, someone you’ve had a dating relationship with, etc., they may seek protection from “future acts of domestic violence” by filing a type of lawsuit.

That is authorized under N.C.G.S. Chapter 50B and is commonly referred to by criminal lawyers in Wake County as a “50B Order.” If you have been arrested for assault, make sure to carefully review the paperwork served upon you.

There may be within those materials a Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order. It will have a separate court appearance in Raleigh. That hearing must be held within 10 days of service of the DVPO.

The rule against Double Jeopardy does not apply to a TRO Temporary Restraining Order (50B Order). It is not a criminal charge. It is a type of civil lawsuit that seeks to prevent you from contacting and/or assaulting the Plaintiff.

If you have been served with such paperwork, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT the other party. That may be a separate criminal offense.

Violating a 50B Order is also a Class A1 Misdemeanor. It may serve as the basis for revoking bond.

Wake County Criminal Defense Attorney John Fanney

Assault charges are serious stuff. If you’ve been arrested in Raleigh for assault or assault on a female, it’s time to lawyer up.

Call John Fanney now to schedule your free legal consultation.

John has spent more than 30 years of his legal career helping people with serious criminal offenses including domestic violence charges.

He is a recognized criminal law specialist in North Carolina and a widely respected defense attorney in Wake County.

John and his staff are dedicated to providing effective, compassionate legal services.

Our law office helps people in Wake County and the surrounding jurisdictions with complex legal matters involving domestic violence, assault charges, and 50B Orders.

Our consultations are free. They are also confidential. What you tell our lawyers remains a secret.

Call Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer John Fanney NOW. You may also reach John by email at: John@FanneyLaw.com

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