State v. Dew: Multiple Assault Offenses and Distinct Interruptions

Happy New Year, everyone.

Around this time last year, I blogged about the decades-long question surrounding assault in our state: when do multiple physical acts constitute one continuing assault offense and when do they constitute more than one assault offense?

At the time the blog was written, the Court of Appeals had analyzed this issue several times, but the question had never reached our state Supreme Court. The Court has since decided State v. Dew, ___ N.C. ___, 2021-NCSC-124 (Oct. 29, 2021), building on the Court of Appeals’ jurisprudence and offering clarification on the “distinct interruption” approach used in deciding these cases. This post reviews the Court’s decision in Dew and the implications it has on physical assault cases moving forward.

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