Domestic violence is a societal problem throughout the United States, and North Carolina is no exception. As a nation, we rightly regard abuse against one’s own family as repugnant, which has led to many initiatives to address the root causes of the problem and provide remedies. However, outcries against domestic violence have also led to overzealous prosecutions that irreparably damage individual reputations and families. At Carolina Law Group, headed by Tommy Kellis, we are committed to the proposition that every accused person deserves a robust defense against criminal charges. Our criminal defense lawyers represent clients accused of domestic violence offenses, while in our family law section, we help both sides of domestic disputes with conflicts over restraining orders.
In North Carolina, there is no specific criminal statute regarding domestic violence. Individuals accused of domestic violence are tried under the statute covering the specific act, such as:
However, in the civil system, domestic violence refers to unlawful conduct by someone with whom the victim has a qualifying personal relationship. The conduct includes threats or actions that place victims in reasonable fear of injury or cause actual injury. Qualifying relationships include:
Persons fearing domestic violence can request injunctions from the civil court to help prevent abuse.
Victims who have a qualifying relationship with an alleged abuser can request a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), commonly called a restraining order. A DVPO can require the targeted person to:
A targeted person who violates a DVPO is subject to criminal penalties.
If the victim is being stalked or harassed by someone outside the definition of a domestic abuser, a different type of restraining order, called a No-Contact Order is available.
Domestic violence offenses are charged as assault and battery crimes under North Carolina law. Therefore, an assault that results in serious injury would be charged as a Class F felony, which can result in a sentence of almost six years in prison. If an abuser chokes a victim without causing serious injury, that’s assault by strangulation, which is classified as a Class H felony, and punished by 39 months in prison.
However, many domestic violence cases amount to simple assault or simple battery. First time offenders may face no jail time at all, but could be required to pay a fine, serve probation, enter a program for substance abuse or anger management and/or pay restitution. There is also the possibility of deferred prosecution, so charges might be dropped after completion of a program.
Whether you are facing criminal charges or have been served with a restraining order, you deserve your day in court and a chance to clear your name. Many domestic violence charges are dropped due to lack of evidence, especially when there is no visible injury. Our experienced team challenges the case against you, as we work diligently to secure the most favorable outcome possible.
The Carolina Law Group, led by Tommy Kellis, helps North Carolina clients fight domestic violence charges and civil protection orders. Please call 252-636-3737 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our New Bern or Morehead City location.