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4 potential defenses against assault and battery charges

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

In North Carolina, assault and battery charges can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the situation (and the prosecutor’s discretion). However, the potential penalties are always serious.

Even a first-time offender who is convicted of simple assault and battery as a Class 2 misdemeanor can expect to serve up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000 – and the penalties only go up from there.

If you find yourself facing these charges, knowing more about the potential defenses available can help you more fully participate in your own defense. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.


If you reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of harm or bodily injury, you may have a valid defense for using force to protect yourself. However, expect the court to carefully scrutinize key factors surrounding the incident, including whether your response to the perceived threat was proportional.

Defense of others

You have the same right to act in defense of others that you do to act in self-defense. The question for the court, again, is whether your belief that there was an imminent danger to that person and the level of your response were both reasonable.


This may sound strange, but it does happen – especially when alcohol is involved. People sometimes “horse around” in dangerous ways, for their own amusement or to entertain others. Even if something goes wrong and someone gets hurt, it may not rise to the level of assault and battery if the alleged victim had consented to the interaction.

Lack of intent

Accidents do happen. If you had no intention of assaulting or battering anybody and you simply got mixed up in the fray during a wild scene at a club, party or bar, the fact that you shoved or kicked somebody as you tried to flee might be a valid defense.

Remember, each case is unique, and experienced legal guidance is essential for a strong defense.

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