Domestic violence affects people from all walks of life. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, race, or economic status. It also takes different forms including physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse.

In the United States, an estimated 10 million people experience domestic violence every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 35.2% of North Carolina women and 30.3% of North Carolina men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

Despite the alarming statistics, laws in North Carolina are improving to help reduce domestic violence. There are resources and mechanisms available to assist domestic violence victims.

Domestic Violence in NC

North Carolina defines domestic violence as abuse or the commission of one or several violent acts between people sharing a personal relationship. These violent acts include:

  1. attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury;
  2. placing the victim or a member of the victim’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury  or  continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or
  3. committing any of the following sex-related crimes: first or second-degree rape; sexual offense with a child; first or second-degree sexual offense; sexual battery; statutory rape or sexual offense of a person 13, 14, or 15 years old; or intercourse and sexual offenses with certain victims.

To be a victim of domestic violence by law in North Carolina, the perpetrator or abuser must be any of the following:

  1. current or former spouse of the victim;
  2. person of the opposite sex who lived or have lived together with the victim;
  3. parent or child of the victim;
  4. any person with whom the victim has a child in common;
  5. current or former household member of the victim;
  6. person of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or has been in a dating relationship with the victim

Depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident, abusers or perpetrators of domestic violence may be prosecuted for, among others:

  1. simple assault;
  2. assault on a female
  3. assault in the presence of a minor;
  4. sexual battery
  5. communicating threats
  6. stalking
  7. cyberstalking
  8. domestic criminal trespass
  9. harassing phone calls

Legal Reliefs Available

North Carolina laws allow victims of domestic violence to avail the following reliefs:

  1. Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) is a court order that requires a perpetrator of domestic violence to stay away from the victim. Law enforcement can arrest the perpetrator on the spot for violating the order. In North Carolina, a “permanent” DVPO can last for up to one year, but can be renewed for up to two years at a time.
  2. Ex parte temporary protective order is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from the abuser. A judge may issue an ex parte order the same day a victim files a complaint about a domestic violence protective order (without the abuser present) if s/he believes that there is a serious and immediate danger to you or your child. If the judge does not issue the ex parte order on the same day, the court must hear the request for an ex parte order within seventy-two (72) hours or by the end of the next day on which the court is in session in the county of the filing, whichever occurs first. An ex parte temporary protective order will protect you until your full court hearing takes place, usually within 10 days from when the order is granted or within 7 days from the date the respondent is served, whichever occurs later

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Those convicted of the domestic violence-related charge can face a wide range of direct and collateral penalties including:

  1. Fines and court costs
  2. Restitution of the alleged victim
  3. Incarceration
  4. Probation
  5. Community service
  6. Abuser treatment counseling 
  7. Alcohol and substance abuse counseling
  8. Loss of driver’s license
  9. Loss of professional license(s)
  10. Ban on possession of any firearms.

Hire Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall, P.C To Help You

If you are charged with committing a crime involving domestic violence, or if you are accused of committing domestic violence in a petition for a protective order, you will benefit from having competent domestic violence lawyers from Wilson, Lackey, Rohr & Hall, P.C. Our professional attorneys can assist you in successfully defending allegations that can result in criminal penalties, a restrictive protective order, or both. If you cannot drop by or are uncomfortable doing so, we can meet you by telephone call or virtual conference.