The courts in North Carolina, as well as law enforcement agencies, believe domestic violence to be a very serious matter in the state, something reflected in the laws. While many people think they know what domestic violence is, they may not understand its impact or how it’s handled at the state level.
It’s a good idea for all from North Carolina to understand how the law views domestic violence and grasp things that many people do not know. Here are three things every person in North Carolina should know about domestic violence.
How North Carolina Defines Domestic Violence
In North Carolina, domestic violence is viewed as a sentence enhancement. That means there is no lone crime of domestic violence. Instead, other crimes can be considered in conjunction with domestic violence and have more significant penalties.
Perhaps the biggest thing to understand about domestic violence is that it’s not the action that’s perpetrated but who it is perpetrated against.
If you commit a crime against one of the following people, then you may have a domestic violence enhancement added to the underlying charge:
- Your former or current spouse
- Your former or current partner, including anyone you’ve dated or lived with
- Your roommates
- Anyone you are related to by marriage or blood
- Anyone with whom you share a child
If you, for example, assault someone that fits one of these descriptions, then you may face domestic violence enhancements on an assault charge.
Three Things to Know About Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a complicated issue, which is why it’s really important to understand a few things about it in the state, such as:
Domestic Violence Can Be Criminal, and Civil
Domestic violence is a matter many people view as strictly criminal in nature. While it is true that domestic violence can lead to several criminal charges, it can also involve civil matters.
How? When someone feels they need protection against another person, they may seek a civil protective order. These protective orders will result in the person accused of domestic violence being barred from contacting the victim for a time, typically one year.
A judge can tack on several other conditions for the protective orders that can seriously limit a person’s life. That’s why it’s crucial to have an attorney on your side in criminal and civil matters like this.
You May Have to Stay in Jail for 48 Hours
If you are arrested for domestic violence crimes in North Carolina, you may not have the opportunity to set your bond and get out of jail for a minimum of 48 hours. The magistrate is not authorized to set the bond in these cases until a district court judge has reviewed it. So, most people arrested on charges involving domestic violence will have to wait to get out of jail after being arrested.
You Don’t Have to Make Contact to Commit Domestic Violence
In North Carolina, domestic violence doesn’t require you to make contact with another person. All that is required is that you make threats to someone who is defined under the domestic violence statutes.