Simple Assault Charge. I cannot afford an attorney. I plead not guilty. What will happen?

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Simple Assault Charge. I cannot afford an attorney. I plead not guilty. What will happen?

My husband and I were in a public place having a dispute. Passers by called police. Husband did not press charges. I told police nothing but pushing and shoving went on. I told them I pushed first. I was taken downtown. Husband called magistrate. Police officer spoke to magistrate. I was released and charged with simple assault. Was not aware of NC law requiring 1 to be taken into custody for pushing and shoving in public place. Please advise

Asked on May 19, 2009 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a North Carolina lawyer. You should ask the court to give you a lawyer, if you can't afford one.

It looks like, from some quick research on the internet, simple assault is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, which could mean up to 6 months in jail, which is the point at which the right to an attorney starts under the U.S. Constitution.

It's rare for maximum penalties to be handed out for simple assault, particularly if you have no prior record.  Usually, if nobody got hurt and it doesn't look like it's going to happen again, judges will give you a lecture, a fine and court costs, but I can't guarantee that.


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