Crime and Parental Rights in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | May 11, 2018

Charges restricting a parent's access to his or her child is a life-changing event. When this occurs, anger and sadness are just a few emotions that can occur. Restrictions usually follow if a parent has committed some crime. There are, however, ways to protect yourself in cases where your rights to your children are threatened. If you have committed a crime and you are trying to keep your parental rights, here is what you need to know.

Parental Rights in North Carolina

Parental rights are generally protected by both federal and state laws. The North Carolina Supreme Court, in McIntyre v. McIntyre (1995) found that parents have a "paramount right ... to custody, care and nurture of their children." Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Troxel v. Granville (2000) that parents have a fundamental right to "make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children."

North Carolina's House attempted to codify parental rights in 2015. According to House Bill 847, a parent's fundamental rights would have included:

  • The care, education, and upbringing of a child.
  • The liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, and care of his or her child; and, care, control, and custody of a child.
  • The right to important health and medical decisions which may directly impact the child.

Though the Bill passed the House, it did not in the Senate. As a result, North Carolina does not currently have a defined parental rights statute in place to protect parental rights for either parent of a child.

Crime and Parental Rights

If you are a parent and you have committed a crime in the past, then parental rights can be rescinded. According to State Law 7B–1111, parental rights can be terminated if:

  • The parent has abused or neglected their child.
  • The child has been placed in the custody of a county department of social services and the parent has not paid for the care, education, or support of the child for six months.
  • The parent has committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child, another child of the parent, or other child residing in the home.

A sequence of steps must be followed to ensure that parental rights are legally terminated. These steps, along with their requirements, are below:

  1. Filing a petition or motion in support of termination of parental rights.
  2. Drafting a petition in accordance with State Law 7B–1104.
  3. Attending a pre-trial hearing.
  4. Attending adjudicatory hearing to determine the status of parental rights.
  5. The presiding judge issues a declaration announcing the end of the parental rights in question.

What to Do if You have Committed a Crime

If you have committed a crime and wish to retain your parental rights, it is important to have attorneys that will properly represent you. Parental rights are important, and so is protecting them if a parent is potentially innocent. To ensure that those rights are retained, experienced attorneys are needed. If you have committed a crime and you are trying to keep your parental rights, contact Caulder and Valentine for a consultation and for more information.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar