If you’re a teenager, you probably have a lot on your mind. You’ve got homework to turn in. Tests to pass. Friends and extra-curricular activities to make time for. There’s the college admissions process looming overhead, and your future to think about. And on top of all your responsibilities, you may be experiencing your first crushes and romantic relationships.
Whatever’s going on in your mind, it’s likely that the last thing you’ve considered is the possibility of getting hit with a dating violence charge. But dating abuse has become a serious problem in North Carolina, and authorities are coming down hard on teen offenders.
What Is Dating Abuse?
Dating abuse occurs when someone uses destructive behavior to exert power or control over their dating partner. Click To TweetDating abuse can occur among all ages and in all kinds of relationships, including serious, casual, short-term, long-term, heterosexual, and homosexual. A wide variety of behaviors may qualify as dating abuse, including:
Physical abuse. If one partner physically injures another in any way, this could constitute physical abuse. This includes any use of force with the intention of causing fear or harm, such as shoving, biting, strangling, striking, or using a weapon.
Sexual abuse. Any action that affects someone’s ability to control their sexual activity could be seen as sexual abuse, including constantly pressuring or physically forcing someone into having sex.
Emotional and verbal abuse. This could include threatening, insulting, intimidating, or trying to humiliate someone through non-physical behaviors.
Financial abuse. Examples of financial abuse include using money to threaten or manipulate someone, controlling someone’s possessions, or frequently giving gifts to apologize for abusive behavior or in return for sexual favors. It could also include disrupting someone’s job by forbidding them to work, trying to get them fired, or stealing their car keys.
Stalking. Stalking occurs when you repeatedly contact, follow, message, or threaten someone. This could include sending excessive emails, constantly calling someone, or damaging their property.
Digital dating abuse. Digital dating abuse involves the use of technology and social media sites to threaten, harass, or scare someone. It includes behaviors such as hacking into accounts, monitoring someone’s phone or text messages, cyber-bullying, sexting without consent, and stalking on social media sites.
Consequences for a Teen Dating Violence Conviction in North Carolina
In North Carolina, teen dating violence is considered to be a form of domestic violence.Some authorities feel that domestic violence can be a prelude to other violent crimes, including assault and battery, rape, manslaughter, and murder.Click To Tweet For this reason, the courts come down hard on teen dating violence. Potential consequences include jail time, rehabilitation, and community service.
A judge may issue a protective order against a teen who has committed a dating violence crime, forbidding them from contacting or going near their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Perhaps one of the most serious consequences is the effect a teen dating violence charge can have on your permanent record. As a form of domestic abuse, this type of crime carries some serious social stigmas and leaves a permanent stain on your criminal record, which can prevent you from getting into college or finding a job or internship.
If you’re facing a teen dating violence charge in North Carolina, you’ve got a lot at stake. Don’t limit your future successes at such a young age—contact a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of cases. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand your options and fight aggressively on your behalf.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.