There are a number of domestic disputes in North Carolina that unfortunately result in abuse against women, men and children. In situations where interactions between intimate parties go wrong, abused people have the right to legal action.
An escalating amount of reported instances of domestic violence are emerging, which have been verified as either falsified or exaggerated out of vindictiveness or with the intention of seeking retribution against a partner. By utilizing competent legal counsel, the criminal justice system can effectively function as originally intended: convicting the culpable individuals while also safeguarding the innocent individuals who have become targets of false allegations.
North Carolina Domestic Violence Laws
North Carolina has legislation in place to address different types of domestic violence, including both civil and criminal laws. The civil court system can issue protection orders, while criminal laws establish the specific penalties for individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses.
North Carolina lacks legislation specifically addressing criminal domestic violence. Instead, the majority of domestic violence cases are pursued under existing criminal statutes. Essentially, any offense committed within the parameters of the legal definition of domestic violence can be considered an act of domestic violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
According to North Carolina statutes, domestic violence occurs when a person commits the following acts against someone they have a personal relationship with:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury;
- Putting the alleged victim in a position that causes them to fear imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, resulting in substantial emotional distress;
- Committing sexual offenses; or
- Engaging in conduct that torments and terrorizes a person.
Statutory law explicitly defines what a “personal relationship” between an alleged perpetrator and alleged victim is. A domestic violence conviction may ensue if a prosecutor can prove that at least one of the above acts was inflicted against one of the following parties:
- A current or former spouse;
- Someone of the opposite sex who an alleged perpetrator is cohabitating with;
- Someone with whom you have a child with;
- Someone related as parent and child (including persons acting as a parent to a minor child) or as grandparents and grandchildren;
- Current or former member of the household; or
- People of the opposite sex who are dating or were previously dating.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in North Carolina
As mentioned above, domestic violence is not a criminal offense under any criminal statutes. However, in the event of a crime involving domestic violence, the judge has the discretion to include certain terms in the sentence.
For instance, in the event of a spouse-on-spouse assault, the judge has the authority to impose a sentence that is not typically imposed on those found guilty of assault. Special conditions that are imposed on domestic violence defendants may include psychiatric treatment, counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, etc.
Experienced North Carolina Domestic Violence Attorneys
Accusations of domestic violence can be a difficult and distressing experience. Many individuals who are accused of these crimes are often treated as though they are guilty prior to a trial. In such cases, it is imperative to seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer who will diligently advocate on your behalf in order to ensure that your rights are protected. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.