Domestic Violence Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
North Carolina law is all over the place when it comes to assault crimes. Essentially, the seriousness of the charge will be determined by (a) who was assaulted, (b) your relationship to that person, (c) whether a deadly weapon was used and (d) the seriousness of any injuries caused by the assault.
The range of charges is wide. A simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor and a conviction is likely just to take some money out of your pocket or put you on probation for a stint. Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, on the other hand, is a class C felony and a conviction will put you in prison for years.
Assault on a female generally carries harsher punishments than assaulting a male. Assaulting a child under 12 is more serious than assaulting a teen. Assaulting a law enforcement officer, a judge, or a prosecutor is more serious than assaulting your own lawyer. (Don’t get any ideas)
Assault Crimes & Domestic Violence
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of domestic violence clients in North Carolina
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence laws kick in when the defendant is in a personal relationship with the victim, or if the victim is a minor child living with a person the defendant had a personal relationship with. What is a personal relationship, you might ask? Good question. It means a relationship wherein the parties involved:
- Are current or former spouses
- Are related as parents and children, including legal guardians, or as grandparents and grandchildren
- Have a child in common
- Are current or former household members
- Are persons who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship
**Please note that we have taken some liberties with the statutory language here to better reflect how the courts are actually treating domestic violence crimes. Contrary to popular belief, or even a crude reading of the statute, same-sex couples are included in the domestic violence definition
What Does it Mean When a Case is Considered Domestic Violence?
Perhaps the biggest difference between domestic violence cases and non-domestic violence cases is what life is like before you go to court. First, upon arrest, the state can hold you for up to 48 hours with no bond until a domestic violence prosecutor can review the case and make a bond recommendation. So while you may only be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor for slapping your husband on a Friday night, you will likely sit in jail until Monday while people charged with rape, child abuse, embezzlement and the like are all able to post an immediate bond if they can afford to do so.
Second, there is almost always a “no contact” condition associated with the bond when you finally get one. So, again, you slapped your husband and were arrested on Friday night — you sat in jail and finally get a bond on Monday. Now you can’t go home if your husband lives there. If you are accompanied by a police officer, you can make arrangements to collect some clothes, toiletries, tools, etc – but that’s about it. You can’t call to apologize, can’t text, can’t email. Bond conditions can be modified in certain circumstances to allow you to be able to go home and make contact with your spouse, but that decision is made by the judge.
Another difference is the courtroom that you will be assigned to. In most counties in North Carolina, including Wake and Buncombe, a domestic violence court is specifically assigned to hear only domestic violence criminal cases giving them an additional level of attention.
The last major difference between domestic violence cases and non-domestic violence cases is the likely punishment. Jail time is always on the table, especially for repeat offenders, but the preference in domestic violence court seems to be treatment. Courses like Developing Opportunities for a Safe Environment (DOSE) are commonly required as a condition of probation or in a deferral agreement.
For non-U.S. citizens, a domestic violence charge is a major problem for immigration status. If you are a non-citizen and you have domestic violence charge pending, do not do anything without consulting an immigration attorney. Even signing a deferral agreement where the charges will ultimately be dismissed can cause major immigration problems.