In North Carolina, felonious restraint is a felony crime. If convicted of this offense, you could face a lengthy prison sentence.
However, you may have strong defenses that you can use to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense through a plea bargain—even if you believe you are guilty. You need to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to obtain the best outcome in your criminal case.
What Is Felonious Assault in North Carolina?
Felonious assault is similar to kidnapping but is a less serious offense in our state. Under N.C.G.S. 14.43-3, this crime is committed when a person unlawfully restrains someone. The elements of this crime include the following:
- Persons 16 years or older. It is considered felonious assault to unlawfully restrain someone 16 years old or older without their consent.
- Persons under 16 years old. Felonious assault is committed if a defendant restrains a person under 16 years old without the consent of their parent or legal custodian.
- Transporting the person. Felonious assault can also be committed if the victim being unlawfully restrained is transported from the place they were initially restrained in a motor vehicle or other conveyance.
Restraining the victim is liberally construed under the law to include the use of force, threats of force, deception, conceit, or fraud.
Examples of when felonious assault may be charged include the following:
- A child under 16 years old sneaks out of their house with a friend who drives them to another place without the parent or legal custodian’s consent.
- The accused gets mad at a friend, restrains them in the accused’s auto, and transports them to another location where they leave the victim.
- In a club or fraternity initiation, the prospective member is restrained in a car or other conveyance and dumped somewhere, like out in the country in the middle of nowhere.
- A boyfriend or girlfriend who is not a custodial parent or legal custodian takes a child under 16 years old on vacation without the parent’s or legal custodian’s consent.
What Are the Penalties for Felonious Assault in Mecklenburg County?
North Carolina uses complicated sentencing guidelines that take into account mitigating and aggravating factors, such as the defendant’s prior criminal record and the circumstances of the crime. Felonious assault is a Class F felony in North Carolina. A person could be sentenced to a maximum sentence of 33 to 59 months in prison if convicted.
What Are the Differences Between Felonious Assault and Kidnapping?
While similar to kidnapping, felonious assault is a different crime that is punished less harshly in North Carolina. The main difference is the purpose of the restraint. Under N.C.G.S. 14.39, kidnapping is committed by unlawfully confining, restraining, or moving the victim from one place to another place without their consent or the consent of their parent or legal custodian if they are under 16 years old. In addition, the purpose of the kidnapping must be one of the following:
- Holding the victim for ransom
- Using the victim as a shield
- Facilitating the commission of a felony or the flight of someone after a felony is committed
- Terrorizing the victim or inflicting serious bodily harm on them
- Keeping the victim in involuntary servitude
- Subjecting the victim to human trafficking
- Subjecting or maintaining the victim for sexual servitude
The penalties for kidnapping can be more severe than for felonious assault. Kidnapping can be charged as a Class E or Class C felony. The punishments would include the following:
- Class E felony. A person could be sentenced to 15 to 63 months in prison if convicted.
- Class C felony. The punishment for kidnapping as a Class C felony is a prison sentence of 44 to 182 months.