North Carolina’s crime of simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and proof of a simple assault requires more than “mere words” on the part of the defendant.If the defendant merely said, “I’m going to hit you,” but made no gesture or movement towards the victim, then the crime of simple assault would not apply.

Defying belief... North Carolina also has the crime of “communicating threats” which has a more severe punishment than the crime of “simple assault.”Communicating threats is a Class 1 misdemeanor, while Simple Assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor.As a hypothetical - if you tell someone you're going to hit them you could receive a greater punishment than if you actually hit them.

Additionally, the crime of communicating threats requires less proof than simple assault.All the state needs to prove is that a threat was communicated (and that a reasonable person would’ve taken it as a threat).The state doesn’t need to show that any gesture or movement was made by the defendant. Mere words are enough to prove someone guilty of the crime of “communicating threats.”

We see this crime fairly often as something that is citizen initiated.In Wake County someone can essentially go to a Magistrate and accuse someone else of communicating threats and then criminal charges are filed.Here is a link to the website where they talk about how someone can take out charges on their own.

“If the police do not witness the assault, and do not find “probable cause,” you may have to go to the Magistrate’s Office at the County Detention Center to file charges. [Map] You will need to describe to the magistrate what happened to you and take along with you any witnesses to the domestic violence/stalking and any evidence of injury or abuse, including pictures, torn or blood-stained clothes and medical reports.Upon hearing your sworn testimony, the magistrate may issue a criminal summons or a warrant, even if you do not have physical evidence of abuse. When a warrant or summons is issued, it will be given to a Law Enforcement Officer to be served on the defendant.”

While these charges are easy to file they’re generally easy to beat with a good communicating threats lawyer in Raleigh.We handle a large amount of these cases and know how the system works to defend you in you are facing a citizen initiated charge of communicating threats.

If you’re accused of communicating threats in Apex, Cary, Morrisville or Raleigh in Wake County, you need to call a communicating threats attorney.Call defense attorney Wiley Nickel (919) 585-1486 for a free consultation about your Wake County communicating threats charge today.You’ll speak with a communicating threats lawyer who will walk you through the process and explain how we can help fight your charge.

Here’s the statute below:

N.C.G.S. 14-277.1. Communicating threats.

  • (a) A person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if without lawful authority:
    • (1) He willfully threatens to physically injure the person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent or willfully threatens to damage the property of another;
    • (2) The threat is communicated to the other person, orally, in writing, or by any other means;
    • (3)The threat is made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out; and
    • (4)The person threatened believes that the threat will be carried out.
  • (b)A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Some Common Questions about the crime of Communicating Threats in North Carolina

  1. Why can’t I just defend myself on this charge of communicating threats?
    These are very complex charges and it’s a huge mistake to handle the case without a good lawyer on your side.The penalty is very severe and can include jail time depending on your record.
  2. How did I get this charge if the police never contacted me?
    It’s very likely that the alleged victim contacted the police and they told him/her that there wasn’t enough evidence for them to file charges.Unfortunately there is a different level of evidence required if they go to a magistrate and initiate the case themselves.
  3. What if it’s just one person’s word against my word?
    We see this situation a lot.Essentially one person claims that another person communicated a threat to them.It’s typically one person’s word against another person’s word.In these situations where you have a he said/she said it’s very hard for the State of North Carolina to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you communicated a threat to someone else without an admission/confession or a audio recording/text message to prove that the threat was made.
  4. Do I need to show up for court even if it’s a totally bogus charge?
    Yes! If you are served with paperwork for this charge you MUST show up to court.If you fail to go to court you will be “called and failed” and then an order for your arrest will be issued.If you are arrested you will likely need to post bond to get out of jail.It’s always a mistake to avoid a court date and there are very few excuses that will fly if you miss your court date.