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Assault on a Handicap Person
Assault on a handicap person is separated into two different categories: simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault on a handicap person occurs when a person (1) commits an assault or batter (2) on a handicap person (3) knowing or having reason to know that the person is handicapped.
While statue does not specifically define “assault,” common law creates a clear understanding of assault in North Carolina. According to State v. Roberts, 270 N.C. 655, 658 (1967), assault is any overt act or attempt or the unequivocal appearance of attempt, with force or violence, to immediately physically injury another person, with the show of force or menace of violence being sufficient to put a reasonable person in fear of immediate physical injury. In other words, assault is any action which shows force or violence and causes a reasonable person to fear for he/she will suffer immediate physical injury.
North Carolina also recognizes battery as a form of assault. According to State v. West, 146 N.C. App. 741, 744 (2001), battery includes the application of force, no matter how slight, directly or indirectly, to another. The most common example of a battery is one person hitting or punching another person. Since this form of assault includes an actual touching, fear from the receiving party is not necessary.
The term “handicap person” is defined by statute as someone who has a physical or mental disability or an infirmity that substantially impairs that person’s ability to defend himself. Whether a person had knowledge of this handicap is a factual determination.
Simple assault on a handicap person is a A1 misdemeanor under North Carolina General Statute 14-32.1(f). The maximum under the law is 150 days incarceration and a discretionary fine not limited by statute.
Aggravated assault on a handicap person occurs when a person (1) commits an assault or batter (2) on a handicap person (3) knowing or having reason to know that the person is handicapped and (4) uses a deadly weapon or other means of force likely to cause serious injury or serious damage to the handicap person, inflicts serious injury on a handicap person or intends to kill a handicap person.
Aggravated assault on a handicap person is a Class F felony under North Carolina General Statute 14-32.1(e). The maximum punishment under the law is 62 months incarceration.