What Constitutes Domestic Violence in North Carolina?

Domestic violence is a pressing issue in North Carolina and throughout the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV), nearly 20 people experience physical abuse by an intimate partner every minute. In just one year, nearly 10 million men and women are victims of domestic violence in the United States.

North Carolina has some of the strictest domestic violence laws in the United States. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can help. Contact our domestic violence defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Domestic Violence in North Carolina

Under North Carolina criminal law, domestic violence means committing one or more abusive acts on a person with whom the defendant has a personal relationship. The following acts constitute domestic violence in North Carolina:

  • Attempting to cause bodily injury
  • Intentionally cause bodily injury
  • Placing someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  • Placing someone in fear of continued harassment that inflicts substantial emotional distress
Domestic Violence Charges

The following crimes fall under the umbrella of domestic violence in North Carolina:

  • The sexual battery is a class A1 Misdemeanor
  • Rape is a Class B1 or a Class C felony, depending on the circumstances
  • Stalking/Harassment is a Class A1 misdemeanor
  • Assault by Strangulation is a Class H Felony
  • Assault on a female is a class A1 misdemeanor
  • Domestic Simple Assault is a Class A1 misdemeanor
What is a Personal Relationship Under North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Statute?

Domestic violence laws only apply when the victim has a personal relationship with the defendant. The following types of relationships constitute “personal relationships” under North Carolina’s domestic violence law:

  • Current spouses or former spouses
  • People of the opposite sex who have lived together or currently live together
  • Related parties such as parents and children
  • People acting in loco parentis of a minor child
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Two people who have a child in common
  • Two people who are former or current household members
  • People of the opposite sex who have been in a dating relationship or are currently in a dating relationship

A dating relationship is one in which the parties are romantically involved on a continuous basis over time. Friendships and working arrangements do not constitute dating relationships for the purposes of the domestic violence law.

Common Defenses to False Domestic Violence Crimes

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we know that not every person charged with domestic violence is guilty. Individuals can falsely accuse innocent people of domestic violence. Whether it is for revenge, retribution, or for another reason, people have been known to make false accusations against significant others and spouses.

One of the best defenses to false domestic violence crimes is to prove that the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence. The prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant committed domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to meet this burden, the prosecution must prove that there is no other logical explanation except that the defendant committed domestic violence. Our skilled attorneys work hard to prove that the prosecution’s evidence is not credible. We know how to point out inconsistencies with the victim’s story that put doubt into the minds of the jury members.

Self-defense is another winning defense against domestic violence charges. A person engaged in self-defense cannot receive a domestic violence conviction, as stated in North Carolina’s law. Our attorneys investigate every claim in order to prove that the other person involved initiated the violence.

Domestic Orders in North Carolina

Domestic violence accusations do not always result in criminal charges. Sometimes prosecutors realize that they do not have enough evidence to bring forth a criminal charge. However, regardless of whether or not the alleged abuser faces criminal charges, he or she may still be subjected to a protective order. A domestic violence protective order (DVPO) is known as a 50B order in North Carolina. If the alleged victim receives a DVPO, the accused must stay away from the person and move out of the shared home.

Our Domestic Violence Attorneys can Help

Fighting domestic violence accusations or protective orders can be extremely stressful and emotionally difficult. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we have helped many clients successfully fight false domestic violence accusations. We can help you fight for your rights during this difficult time. Contact our domestic violence defense lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation.