Often, the term “domestic violence” conjures images of physical abuse, but since the late ‘70s, when the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence was initially organized, it has been leading the movement to further define what the term means, and to end domestic violence of all kinds in our state.
As you probably know, being accused of domestic violence can be life-changing. If you are currently facing domestic violence charges, but unsure of what legal action you can or should take to protect yourself, reach out to a knowledgeable Greensboro domestic violence defense attorney for advice.
They will be able to review the facts of your case and offer expert guidance and work with you to develop a sound defense strategy.
Here’s the thing – domestic violence no longer has to involve physical harm in order to be considered a crime. Although most criminal domestic violence cases in North Carolina are prosecuted through general criminal statutes, any crime can be classified as an act of domestic violence when perpetrated against anyone in a “personal relationship” with the offender as defined under North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Statute. Further, there are a number of other power and control tactics that are recognized by law enforcement as forms of domestic violence – physical or otherwise.
In this post, we offer a run-down of those non-physical acts that either qualify as criminal domestic violence, or point to it.
Unlawful Acts of Non-Physical Domestic Violence in North Carolina
Nearly every unlawful act of non-physical domestic violence as defined by North Carolina is related in some way, shape, or form to intimidation. Here is a quick list of actions that can automatically lead to criminal domestic violence charges:
- Assault by Pointing a Gun
- Domestic Criminal Trespass
- Harassing Phone Calls
- Damage to Personal Property
- Interference with Emergency Communication
- Violation of a Protective Order
- Communicating Threats
During legal proceedings, factors such as prior offenses and your history of violence within the home will affect the judge’s decision on the severity of your punishment. Often, sentencing includes a few months in jail, required rehabilitation courses (an anger management class, for instance), fines, or some other type of restitution paid to the victim, and some kind of restraining or protective order.
There are also rare situations in which what are normally considered misdemeanors are bumped up to felony charges.
Again, an experienced attorney can let you know what the possibilities are in your case, and help you understand the best course of action in minimizing the consequences of your actions.
Other Power & Control Tactics North Carolina Recognizes
A few years after the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV) began their efforts, halfway across the country, another organization called the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project convened a number of focus groups in order to identify the most common abusive behaviors and tactics universally experienced by battered women.
This resource is still utilized today by social services professionals and law enforcement to help identify possible situations of domestic violence.
Some of the tactics referenced in the guide include:
Emotionally abusive interactions – putting someone down, making them feel bad about themselves, calling them names, making them think they’re crazy, playing mind games, humiliating them or making them feel guilty.
Domestic restraint – if one routinely treats their spouse like a servant in her own home, never allows them involvement in big decisions, or they are made to remain uninvolved in any defining of male and female roles in the household where they live, it can be taken as abuse. Economic abuse is typically housed under this umbrella, as well.
Intimidation outside of those acts considered criminal – such as causing fear by using looks, actions, gestures, and abusing pets.
Coercion and threat tactics aside from the criminal act of threatening a victim – threatening to leave the other person, to commit suicide, or to report them to welfare in an effort to make them drop charges or commit illegal acts.
The bottom line here is that there are all kinds of ways you can be “violent” toward someone with whom you are in a domestic relationship in the eyes of the law. Some of these you probably weren’t even aware of before, but knowing them can help you avoid making a mistake that gets you charged – or assist in your defense.