Domestic violence can be an issue in a variety of relationships, but in every case, it can lead to serious consequences. In North Carolina, there are many different crimes associated with charges of domestic violence.
So, what makes a crime fall under the umbrella of domestic violence, and what kind of penalties can result from a conviction? Read on to find out.
Domestic Violence: What Is It?
Under North Carolina law, domestic violence occurs when someone commits any of the following acts against certain persons:
- Assault by pointing a gun
- Assault in the presence of a child
- Assault on a female/communicating threats
- Sexual battery
- Sexual offenses
- Harassing phone calls
- Domestic criminal trespass
- Violation of a protective order
- Injury to a pregnant woman
- Interference with emergency communication
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Injury to personal property
- Assault with serious injury
- Non-fatal strangulation
Some of these are misdemeanor domestic violence crimes while some, such as strangulation, are felonies.
When any of these acts are committed (or even only attempted) against someone with whom the offender has a personal relationship or against a child of someone with whom they have a personal relationship, it is considered domestic violence.
So how does North Carolina define a “personal relationship”?
How NC Defines a Personal Relationship
In order to be charged with a domestic violence crime, it must first be determined it the crime was perpetrated against someone with whom you have a personal relationship. The state law defines a personal relationship as:
- Former or current spouses
- Parents of a child
- People of the opposite sex who have lived together or do live together
- People related such as parents and children or grandparents and grandchildren
- A former or current household member
- Someone you’ve dated or are dating
Penalties for Domestic Violence in NC
The criminal statutes in North Carolina apply to defendants for the crimes related to domestic violence whether a personal relationship was involved or not.
However, if the crimes perpetrated fall into the category of domestic violence, then a judge can impose specific conditions on the defendant at sentencing.
If a personal relationship is determined to exist between the defendant and the victim of the crime, then it will go on record as an act of domestic violence. The judge can also require probation as well as any of these conditions:
- Treatment at a facility that provides counseling, rehabilitation, residence, or training for people on probation
- Psychiatric or medical treatment and be admitted to a residential treatment facility if necessary for that treatment
- Complete a drug treatment program ordered by the court successfully
- Abstain from using alcohol and be monitored for use of alcohol
- Remain at home except for approved purposes such as school or employment
In cases of domestic violence where someone fears they will become a victim or has been a victim, something called a protective order can be granted to help prevent future acts.
Victims must file a petition with the court and a judge, after hearing the merits of the case, will decide if a protective order should be issued. If so, then the order may include specific provisions that do the following:
- Prohibit any contact between the involved parties
- Grant one party possession of shared dwellings
- Require one person to provide suitable housing for their spouse and children
- Require that the home be vacated by the defendant
- Require child support to be paid
- Prohibit abuse or threats of any means between the parties
Domestic violence charges can have a huge impact on your life, so know your rights if you’re charged with a domestic violence crime.