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2 potential defenses to North Carolina assault charges

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | assault and battery

There are varying degrees of assault charges in North Carolina, and they all risk significant potential penalties. To secure a conviction for assault, the prosecution needs to show, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed bodily harm or made a credible threat to commit bodily harm to another person.

There are, however, a number of potential defenses to such charges. The following are two assault defenses that warrant further consideration by many defendants who face assault charges.


One of the most common defenses to assault charges is self-defense. In a nutshell, a self-defense argument claims that a defendant was acting defensively rather than aggressively. However, self-defense laws in North Carolina are very specific and may only be employed under specific circumstances.

Thus, if you are facing assault charges, you can only argue self-defense if you used force as a response to a credible and imminent threat. The amount of force used also must be proportionate. For example, if an individual punched you or tried to punch you, then shoving them away would likely be classed as self-defense. Nonetheless, if in the same situation, you used a deadly weapon, the force would likely not be considered reasonable or proportionate.

Consensual activity

It may also be possible to defend assault charges by arguing that you were engaged in a consensual activity. For instance, if you and someone else were training in martial arts together, and that person was injured as a result, consent may be a potential defense. While physical force was used, and an injury occurred, the activity was consensual and the other party should have reasonably known that injury was a possibility.

An assault conviction can have lasting repercussions. If you’re facing charges, seek legal guidance to find out more about your defense options, as there is too much at stake to navigate your situation alone.