In North Carolina, the law merges assault, which is the threat of bodily harm, and battery, which is unlawful bodily contact, into a single crime. The same law that defines and imposes penalties for assault and battery also covers a similar offense, simple affray.
Simple affray is a specific type of assault and battery. According to the University of North Carolina, there are three things that the state must prove to obtain a conviction on a charge of simple affray.
A charge of simple affray pertains to a fight between at least two people. The law defines a fight as either a threat to use physical force or violence against another person or the actual use of such violence or force. To obtain a conviction, the state must prove that the person facing charges engaged in a fight according to the definition under state law. Even an act of self-defense can still incur charges of simple affray.
A public place
Simple affray requires that the fight takes place in a public place. This does not necessarily mean a place devoted solely to public use. It can also mean a place accessible to the neighboring public and which many people visit.
Terror to persons present
The third element to a charge of simple affray is that the fight between two or more people in a public place puts other people present in fear. To meet this requirement, the state has to prove that the fight caused terror to other people who were lawfully present in the same public place as the fight occurred.
Simple affray is a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina.