Domestic crimes are among the most emotionally charged and challenging cases in the entire criminal justice system. The majority of jurisdictions are very tough on defendants, including the state of North Carolina, where courts and prosecutors have zero tolerance for these kinds of offenses. Additionally, domestic violence cases tend to be scrutinized more closely by judges and prosecutors, which might result in a defendant not being handled as fairly as our justice system requires.
A person accused of a domestic crime is frequently deemed guilty right away, not only by a judge but also by the general public. As a result, these cases present serious collateral repercussions that reach far beyond the courtroom and can seriously damage a defendants’ daily life, reputation, and future. Because they differ from other criminal cases, defending them requires an experienced attorney who will fight for your rights both inside and outside of the courtroom. If you receive domestic crime accusations of any kind, contact North Carolina domestic crimes attorney Aden Wilkie at Wilkie Law Firm today for experienced legal counsel and unparalleled defense.
What is a Domestic Crime?
A domestic crime is typically defined as an act of violence perpetrated by a current or former spouse or a current or former cohabitant that results in real bodily injury or the fear of physical injury. However, a domestic crime does not only relate to current or former spouses or intimate partners in general. In North Carolina, a domestic relationship can also involve:
- Persons who currently live together or have previously lived together
- Those related as parent and child (including persons acting as a parent or guardian to a child)
- Those related as grandparents and grandchildren
- Parents of the same child
- Persons who are or were previously in a dating relationship
Domestic crimes are often committed with the intent to control, manipulate, or intimidate another person. While the majority of domestic crime victims tend to be women, both males and females can be victims of domestic crimes.
Types of Domestic Crimes
There are many different types of offenses that can fall under the category of domestic crime. What it really depends on, however, is the relationship between the victim and perpetrator. The most common domestic crime is assault or domestic abuse. This may include physical violence, such as pushing, hitting, shoving, and kicking, or sexual violence. Other common forms of domestic crimes include the following:
Domestic violence is a very broad term that can encompass many different violent crimes in North Carolina. The forms it may take include physical violence, emotional abuse, economic or financial abuse, and sexual abuse, to name a few.
Stalking can occur between virtually anyone, including strangers, acquaintances, and people who are or have previously been in a relationship. However, to be categorized as a domestic crime, stalking behavior must occur between domestic partners of some sort. This typically occurs when an abusive partner or ex-partner demands your time or otherwise intrudes upon your space even after you’ve made it clear you do not want contact with this person.
Harassment refers to a wide range of offensive acts. It is usually defined as behavior that degrades or humiliates a person. These are actions that appear to be unsettling, distressing, or dangerous in a legal sense.
Protective Order Violation
The violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order, or DVPO, is one of the most commonly occurring domestic violence crimes. A person who fears being a victim or who has previously been a victim of domestic violence can seek this protection order from the court to help prevent future acts of domestic violence. In general, a person seeking a domestic violence protective order in North Carolina need only show a very limited amount of evidence (their own statement or allegations in some cases) when appearing in front of a Judge ex parte (alone or without the other party) and obtain a temporary DVPO.
However, the ex parte order must be followed up by a formal hearing no later than 10 days after the original order is issued. The order issues may prohibit the defendant from having any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiff or their children or entering their home. Other prohibited actions or behaviors will be specifically stated in the order. The breach of such an order arises anytime the defendant performs anything that they have been ordered not to do, which results in a criminal offense. Having experienced, zealous representation from a domestic crimes attorney at these hearings is critically important as the party that shows up with a lawyer usually prevails and obtains many legal advantages over the other party that can not only impact the DVPO outcome, but can impact future divorce or custody proceedings, as well.
Child abuse may include the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a minor. It may also include child neglect or exploitation. State laws define what constitutes child abuse in North Carolina in code section 7B-101 as the following: creating a substantial risk or injury other than by accidental means; commits, permits, or encourages any type of sexual abuse; allows serious emotional damage to the child; does not provide proper care or necessary medical care; abandons the child; uses inappropriate devices or procedures to modify behavior; or encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent acts involving moral turpitude.
Domestic endangerment occurs when the defendant recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury or death to a domestic partner. Despite whether the endangerment was intentional or not, it is illegal to create a situation that puts someone else at risk. An example of this might be grabbing the wheel while a partner drives and intending to cause a wreck.
Kidnapping refers to the act of confining or restraining a person or moving a person from one place to another for the purpose of holding them for ransom, inflicting serious bodily harm, terrorizing them, enslaving them, using them as a shield, assisting in committing a felony, fleeing from committing a felony, or subjecting the person to sex trafficking.
Penalties for Domestic Crimes in North Carolina
Criminal law for the abovementioned crimes applies to all defendants regardless of whether or not two people share a domestic relationship. In fact, domestic violence-specific criminal legislation does not fully exist in North Carolina law. Rather, these offenses are punished under the relevant criminal legislation under which they fall. A domestic abuse case involving a physical attack, for example, would generally be tried as assault and battery in NC, whereas one involving rape would fall under the sex crimes legislation. With this in mind, consequences for domestic crime convictions can range from misdemeanors to felonies, with hefty fines, jail, or prison time included in the sentence.
However, should the court find that a domestic relationship exists or once existed, this determination will be noted in the official case records. As a result, any future inquiries into the defendant’s criminal record, such as looking at historical priors to determine sentencing, will reveal the defendant’s past of committing a domestic crime. In addition, state law allows the judge to use this classification to impose special North Carolina conditions of probation, including those that require the defendant to:
- Seek medical or psychiatric treatment and remain in a specialized institution if necessary to complete said treatment
- Attend or stay in a facility that offers probationers rehabilitation, counseling, treatment, housing, or training
- Enroll in and successfully complete a drug or alcohol treatment program (if drugs and/or alcohol were a factor in the case)
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol and submit to regular alcohol and drug testing
- Remain at home under house arrest with electronic monitoring except for specified reasoning, such as counseling, schooling, or employment purposes
- Surrender their driver’s license and refrain from operating a motor vehicle for a specified period of time as determined by the court
- Perform community service or reparations as determined by the court
- Forgo owning any firearms or obtaining a gun permit
- Satisfy any other conditions determined by the court which are reasonably related to his or her rehabilitation
Contact a North Carolina Domestic Crimes Attorney at Wilkie Law Firm Today
Cases involving domestic crimes are frequently complex and extremely emotionally charged. If you receive a domestic crime charge of any kind, it is imperative that you contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney right away. To effectively fight against charges that might result in a range of criminal penalties, a protective order, or both, you’ll need the help of an experienced Jacksonville domestic crimes lawyer.
Hire The Best
Under the representation of Aden Wilkie of the Wilkie Law Firm, you can rest assured knowing you will be given comprehensive legal assistance throughout the entire process while we work to preserve your rights and protect your future. What’s more, we will diligently fight for you by either working with the prosecution for a reduced sentence or disputing the prosecution’s evidence and narrative entirely. If you have been charged with a domestic crime, call the Wilkie Law Firm today for a consultation at 910-333-9626.