Most of us have seen a crime show where the police arrest a person and say that they are charging him with “assault and battery.” However, even though assault and battery is a very common turn of phrase, many people do not know what assault and battery consist of. Did you know that in some states “assault” and “battery” are two completely separate crimes?
The reality is that what “assault and battery” actually is depends on the state that you are in. In the state of North Carolina, assault and battery are not separate crimes. Rather, assault and battery is a merged crime in North Carolina.
Defining the terms
In the majority of American states, assault and battery are actually two separate distinct crimes. That is, in many states, “assault” is essentially an attempt at “battery.” You must touch somebody for a battery charge (though, in some cases “touching” can involve acts like spitting on somebody else). For assault, there only needs to be an intent to harm.
However, in North Carolina this is not the case. Usually, if a North Carolina Court is charging you with a crime involving physically injuring another person, it is likely that the charge will be a combined “assault and battery.”
Felonies and misdemeanors
The majority of assault and battery charges are misdemeanors. Misdemeanor assault and battery charges in North Carolina includes simple assault and simple affray. Simple affray is when two people are fighting and this disturbs the public peace. Assault and battery is a felony if it involves a deadly weapon with intent to kill or do serious bodily injury to another.