In 2011, North Carolina became one of 35 states to recognize unborn children as separate victims in crimes perpetrated against their mothers. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act created new homicide and assault crimes aimed at the protection of unborn children. These crimes include Murder of an Unborn Child, Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child, Battery on an Unborn Child, and Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury on an Unborn Child.
N.C. General Statute § 14.23 defines an “unborn child” as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” The statute further provides that, except as to Murder of an Unborn Child, none of the offenses require proof that the defendant knew or should have known the woman was pregnant or that the defendant intended to cause death or injury.
Battery of an Unborn Child – N.C. General Statute § 14-23.6(b)
A person is guilty of this offense when he or she:
(1) Commits a battery
(2) On a pregnant woman.
This offense only applies to a battery, meaning an actual striking, of a pregnant woman. Again, no proof is required that the defendant knew or should have known the woman was pregnant or that the defendant intended to cause injury to the unborn child. Battery of an Unborn Child is a Class A1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 150 days imprisonment. Furthermore, a person convicted of this offense and may still be convicted of any other offense (like Assault on a Female, for example) based on the same conduct.
If you’ve been charged with Assault & Battery, Assault on a Female, or Battery of an Unborn Child in Wake County, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC at (919) 585-1486 for a free consultation with our experienced attorneys.