In North Carolina, there are a number of domestic disputes that unfortunately leave women, men and children battered. In situations when interactions between intimate parties go awry, those being abused have a right to legal recourse.
However, there has been an increasing number of reported claims of domestic violence that have been proven to be fabricated or exaggerated out of spite or for the purpose of getting revenge against a partner. With the help of skilled legal representation, the criminal justice system will be able to successfully operate the way it was intended to: convicting the guilty while simultaneously protecting the innocent who have fallen victim to false accusations.
North Carolina Domestic Violence Laws
There are both civil and criminal domestic violence laws in North Carolina that address the various forms of domestic violence. Protection orders can be granted through the civil court system, while criminal laws dictate the types of penalties a person convicted of a domestic violence related crime will face.
North Carolina does not have laws specific to criminal domestic violence; the majority of domestic violence cases are prosecuted through other crimes. Almost any crime could be an act of domestic violence if commissioned in the confines of the legal definition 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, there are no specific criminal statutes that reference domestic violence. However, if a crime has been committed in the context of domestic violence, a judge has the option to attach specific terms to a sentence.
For example, if an assault was carried out against a spouse, a judge has the discretion to impose a penalty that may not be commonly carried out to those convicted of assault. Requiring a defendant to attend psychiatric treatment, go to counseling, go to a rehabilitation clinic for drugs and alcohol etc. are examples of special conditions that are enforced as a result of a crime involving domestic violence.
Experienced North Carolina Domestic Violence Attorneys
Being accused of domestic violence is burdensome. Many people who face these allegations are oftentimes treated as if they are guilty before a trial ensues. In these circumstances, it is essential to consult with a skilled attorney that will work diligently to successfully uphold your rights. Contact Caulder & Valentine today for a consultation.