Domestic Violence Charges in NC
If you are accused of committing domestic violence against a current or former romantic partner, or someone else in your family or household, you should contact a domestic violence lawyer immediately. Depending on the accusations, you may face criminal charges, such as simple assault, assault on a female, communicating threats, stalking, or sexual assault. You may also face civil restraining orders with or without criminal charges. In either situation, you will need the help of the skilled Charlotte criminal lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC.
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the charges against you and analyze every piece of evidence as we craft a defense on your behalf. We cannot guarantee a specific outcome to a criminal domestic violence charge or civil protective order case. However, we always fight hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your case, and we have a strong track record of success.
Domestic Violence in North Carolina
North Carolina General Statue §50B-1 defines domestic violence in the state. It is the commission of one or more certain acts, by a person with whom the victim has or had a personal relationship with. Such relationships include people:
- Who are current or former spouses
- Who are of the opposite sex who currently or previously lived together
- Who are related as parents and children or grandparents and grandchildren
- Who have a child in common
- Who are current or former household members
- Who are of the opposite sex who are in or had a dating relationship
Domestic violence encompasses a wide range of violent, threatening, and inappropriate behavior. Many accusations of domestic violence include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. However, you must understand that domestic violence does not require physical contact or for the victim to suffer any physical injuries. Under §NCGS 50B-1(a), you can face criminal or civil court proceedings if you:
- Attempt to cause another person bodily injury
- Intentionally cause another person bodily injury
- Place the victim or a member of their family in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that inflicts substantial emotional distress
- Commit certain sex offenses as defined in North Carolina law
If someone alleges that you committed an aggressive or violent act on a household member and you want to protect your reputation, rights, and freedom, contact a domestic violence lawyer at our firm right away.
Fighting Criminal Charges Related to Domestic Violence
Domestic violence itself is not a specific crime. When you are accused of domestic violence, you may face charges for several different offenses. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, our domestic violence defense attorneys have handled a wide range of cases involving these issues. We will skillfully and aggressively defend you against all types of accusations, including:
- Domestic Simple Assault (NCGS §14-33(d)) – class A1 misdemeanor
- Assault on a Female (NCGS §14-33(c)(2)) – class A1 misdemeanor
- Assault by Strangulation (NCGS §14-32.4(b)) – class H Felony
- Harassment/Stalking (NCGS §14-277.3A) – class A1 misdemeanor
- Rape (NCGS §14-27.21 & §27.22) – class B1 or class C Felony
- Sexual Battery (NCGS §14-27.33) – class A1 Misdemeanor
The penalty you face upon conviction depends upon the level of the charge against you and whether there are mitigating, or aggravating factors present in your case. In addition, your past criminal history is considered.
Having a personal relationship with the victim is something the jury and judge can consider during a trial. If you are convicted, the fact that the crime was domestic violence can influence your sentence, including the terms of probation. Before, during and after the trial, there may be a no-contact order in place, which means you cannot have any face-to-face contact or communication with the victim.
How to Prove Your Innocence in Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic violence cases can be challenging to prove and challenge since the allegations often occur in public. It can feel like one person’s word against yours. However, that does not mean you should not fight the accusations. It simply means you are better off working with a domestic violence lawyer who has experience defending against false accusations.
One way to prove you are innocent of a domestic violence offense is to demonstrate that your accuser is lying and has the motive to do so. Your criminal defense attorney will vigorously cross-examine the alleged victim in court to find inconsistencies or misrepresentations in their story. In many false allegations of domestic violence, the accuser has an ulterior motive. Your lawyer may draw that out, demonstrating to the judge or jury that the individual accusing you wanted to revenge or was attempting to influence a divorce or child custody dispute.
If there were witnesses to the alleged incident, then your lawyer may question them on the stand. They may be able to show that the witnesses did not actually see or hear abuse, or that they misinterpreted what they heard. If they directly saw violent conduct (or lack thereof), it is highly likely they know exactly what happened.
Your testimony can be essential to proving your innocence. When you are accused of criminal conduct toward someone you know, you have the right to tell your side of the story. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we have handled domestic violence cases in NC in which the accused was actually abused by the individual making allegations of abuse. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyers may be able to present evidence that you acted in self-defense.
Another way to prove your innocence is to utilize character witnesses. Your domestic violence lawyer will strive to show the court that you are a person of good and moral character. This can go a long way in proving you would not do what your victim accused you of.
Additionally, in criminal cases, it is the prosecutor’s burden to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will demonstrate that there are holes and weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, creating the doubt you need to be acquitted.
Defending Against Protective Orders
Accusations of domestic violence may not lead to criminal charges. You may only face a civil protective order. A person who accuses you of domestic violence can seek a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), which is also known as a 50B order in the state of North Carolina. If another person obtains a 50B order, you can be legally required to stay away from them, move out of a shared home, pay them spousal or child support, lose custody of your children, lose the right to possess firearms, and more.
If you are served papers regarding a petition for a protective order, you should contact a domestic violence lawyer for help. Along with a summons to a court hearing, you may also have received a copy of a temporary protective order, which is typically called an Ex Parte Protective Order. You must adhere to this order, which typically lasts 10 days. Any violation of a protective order can lead to civil penalties and possible criminal charges.
By working with an attorney, you can arrive at the restraining order hearing prepared to thoroughly defend yourself. If you can show that you did not commit domestic violence, or at least that the other party does not have sufficient evidence to prove you did, then you may avoid a lengthy protection order, which typically lasts twelve (12) .
Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer for Help Today
Fighting accusations of domestic violence is not only legally challenging, it is also emotionally difficult. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we have witnessed firsthand how hard it is to cope with false accusations of abuse. We can help you during this difficult time. We will defend you against these allegations in North Carolina’s criminal and civil courts, fighting for your rights every step of the way.