North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Laws

Facing domestic violence charges in North Carolina is daunting. Per North Carolina law, domestic violence is a violent act committed by a person who shares a personal relationship with the victim. Unfortunately, many people are falsely accused of domestic violence in North Carolina. Sometimes people use domestic violence charges to retaliate against a spouse or partner or to gain advantages in child custody or divorce disputes.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we zealously defend our clients against domestic violence charges. If you are facing domestic violence charges in North Carolina, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Our skilled and experienced lawyers listen carefully to your side the story. We thoroughly investigate our clients’ cases in order to determine possible defenses. Contact our domestic violence defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina domestic violence law, the crime of domestic violence includes committing a violent act against a child or a person within whom the defendant has a personal relationship. Domestic violence includes all of the following acts:

  • Intentionally causing bodily injury
  • Attempting to cause bodily injury
  • Placing the victim in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  • Placing the victim in fear of harassment that inflicts substantial emotional distress

Terrorizing, tormenting, or terrifying someone with whom the victim is in a personal relationship may rise to the level of domestic violence. Continued harassment over time that causes another person severe emotional distress can be considered domestic violence.

What are Personal Relationships for the Purposes of Domestic Violence?

A personal relationship is a relationship in which two people are one of the following:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Persons of the opposite sex who have lived together or are living together
  • Parents and children
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Two people that have a child in common
  • Are former or current household members
  • People who have been in a dating relationship or are in a dating relationship
Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions in North Carolina

Domestic violence charges are prosecuted under their related criminal statutes. For example, prosecutors often prosecute domestic violence that involves a physical assault as an assault. Prosecutors will likely prosecute rape under North Carolina statutes prohibiting sex crimes. When a personal relationship between the victim and the defendant exists, a judge might order additional measures for the defendant.

In some cases, judges require defendants to take anger management classes or undergo rehabilitation. Judges sometimes require defendants to pay the victims restitution. North Carolina judges often consider whether the defendant has any prior convictions of domestic violence. If so, the judge will consider the convictions when determining sentences. Finally, the judge could issue a restraining order if there is no restraining order in place.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders in North Carolina

A domestic violence victim has a right to seek legal protection from North Carolina courts. A Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) is a civil order that limits contact between the victim or minor child and the alleged abuser. Domestic violence restraining orders, also known as 50B orders, protect victims of domestic violence.

The first type of protective order is an emergency order that is valid for 10 days. North Carolina judges only issue emergency orders when the victim is in danger of immediate and serious injury. The second type of protective order is valid for the year. Violating a protective order in North Carolina is a misdemeanor that comes with a possible 150 day jail sentence.

After the order expires, the victim can seek to renew it for up to two years. The terms of the domestic violence order are unique to each victim’s situation. A DVPO can include any of the following provisions:

  • Granting one person exclusive use of the jointly-owned residence
  • Awarding one spouse or partner temporary custody of minor children
  • Ordering one party to refrain from engaging in threatening or abusive behavior
  • Any other requirements that a judge deems necessary to protect a child or the victim
  • An order might require the defendant to surrender all permits, guns, and ammunition
Our Domestic Violence Attorneys can Help

If you are facing domestic violence accusations, seeking the advice of skilled attorneys is essential. The aggressive domestic violence defense lawyers of Arnold & Smith, PLLC fight hard for our client’s rights. Our lawyers will zealously represent your interests and use their experience and skills to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and get started on making your legal defense strategy.