People fear violent crime. North Carolina takes violent crime very seriously and has established laws with some of the harshest penalties. Prosecutors, police officers and detectives feverishly prosecute those charged with violent offenses. The criminal laws of North Carolina exist in part to protect people from physical harm. Challenging these charges requires the experience, knowledge, and skill of a criminal defense attorney.
If you or a loved one find yourself facing charges of assault, disorderly conduct or any offense involving harm or threat of harm to another, you need to act immediately by hiring the best and most skilled criminal defense attorney in Wake County. You need an attorney who can clearly articulate your position to the state and who can not only negotiate you a good deal but also aggressively and persuasively defend you in front of a jury of your peers.
Raleigh Violent Offense Lawyer
Your Raleigh violent offense lawyer will fight for your rights and challenge evidence, possibly causing charges to be reduced or dropped. We can assist you in negotiating a plea bargain or when all negotiations fail, we have the experience to effectively defend you at trial.
At Coolidge Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience at the Wake County Justice Center representing the accused. Contact us today at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. Please remember that you should never talk with the police without an attorney present. If asked, simply tell the police that you want an attorney present during any questioning, not because your guilty but rather you want to protect your rights.
We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Wake Forest, Apex, Zebulon, Morrisville, Knightdale and Holly Springs.
Information on Crimes of Violence
- Types of Assault Under North Carolina Law
- Other Violent Offenses
- Gang-Related Activity, Hate Crimes and Other Aggravating Factors
Chapter 14, Article 8 of the North Carolina General Statutes contains the statutes prohibiting the many different types of assaults. Assaults can be classified as both misdemeanors and felonies. However, a person accused of any assault charge should take the matter very seriously.
N.C.G.S. § 14-33 discusses assault, batteries and affrays that are misdemeanors. A simple assault, battery or affray is a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, there are many factors that can cause an assault or battery to be considered a more serious offense. An assault or battery against a sports official, like a referee or coach, is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Many others are Class A1 misdemeanors, including:
- Inflicting serious injury;
- Using a deadly weapon;
- Pointing a gun at another person;
- If the victim is a child younger than 12;
- If the victim is a female and the accused is a male 18 or older;
- If the victim is a state, county, city or school district employee while he or she is discharging his or her duties;
- If the victim is a bus driver or other public transit operator discharging his or her duties; or
- If the victim is a privately employed police officer discharging his or her duties.
An assault can also become a felony. Felony assault includes:
- Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill that inflicts serious injury (Class C felony)
- Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury (Class E felony)
- Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill (Class E felony)
- Assault on a person with a physical or mental disability (Class F felony)
- Assault on a law enforcement officer (including probation officers and corrections officers) inflicting serious injury (Class F felony)
- Assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting injury (Class I felony)
- Assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer (Class E felony)
Other violent offenses under the North Carolina General Statutes include:
Felonious Restraint and Kidnapping: These are two separate offenses. Felonious restraint means to restrain a person without his or her consent and move that person to another place in a motor vehicle or other conveyance. If the person is younger than 16, it is felonious restraint to restrain that person and move him or her without his or her parent’s consent. Felonious restraint is a Class F felony.
Kidnapping means to confine a person and then hold that person for ransom, use the confined person to facilitate another felony, inflict serious bodily harm or terrorize the victim, hold the victim in involuntary servitude or sexual servitude or traffic the victim for involuntary or sexual servitude. Kidnapping is a Class C felony if the victim was seriously hurt, sexually assaulted or not released in a safe place. Otherwise, it is a Class E felony.
Disorderly Conduct: Defined in N.C.G.S. § 14-288.4, disorderly conduct covers a wide range of accusations that involve a public disturbance. Disorderly conduct can include fighting and using abusive language or gestures. It could also involve disruptions at any of the universities in the Research Triangle area, including taking possession of a building or refusing to leave one. Disorderly conduct is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Discharging a Firearm From or Within an Enclosure: It is a Class E felony to fire a gun from a building or motor vehicle in a willful or wanton manner as part of a pattern of street gang behavior. It is a Class F felony to discharge a weapon within a building or conveyance to create fear.
Murder: Homicide is the unlawful taking of another person’s life and can be categorized into first degree murder (Class A felony), second degree murder (Class B felony), voluntary manslaughter (Class D felony) and involuntary manslaughter (Class F felony). The charge depends on several factors, including premeditation, malice aforethought, and the careless or neglectful conduct of the perpetrator.
North Carolina uses structured sentencing guidelines that give incarceration ranges based upon a variety of different factors, including the classification of the felony or misdemeanor and the record of the person convicted.
The guidelines also permit the court to use various aggravating and mitigating factors in determining an appropriate sentence. Some aggravating factors, which make the sentence worse, relate to violent crimes.
For instance, if the crime was committed for the benefit of or at the direction of a street gang, that fact is considered an aggravating factor. The court can also consider the fact that the offender committed the act(s) with another as an aggravating factor. Thus, in a situation where the defendant belonged to a gang and several members of this gang including the defendant “jumped” a rival gang member or other person, the prosecutor could use these facts as aggravating factors at sentencing. This shows that the criminal defense attorney that you chose must be skilled at both defending you at trial but also experienced at protecting your rights at sentencing should the result be not in your favor.
It is also an aggravating factor if an assault or other violent crime was committed due to a person’s race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin.
Aggravating factors must be proved beyond reasonable doubt like any other element in a criminal case. Your attorney will be able to challenge the evidence and bring forth evidence that calls into question the prosecutor’s case.
Finding the Best Violent Crime Attorney in Wake County
If you face any sort of violent crime charge, you need to protect your rights by promptly hiring a violent crime attorney to represent you. Your future is at stake. At Coolidge Law Firm, we defend the rights of people accused of felony and misdemeanor violent crimes in Wake County, including in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Wendell and Rolesville.
Call us today at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Raleigh violent offense lawyer.