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

UPDATED: May 19, 2009

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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


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

Answered 13 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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