If you are arrested or charged with the crime of domestic violence, the legal system and its procedures may be incredibly overwhelming, and the notion of defending yourself can be equally intimidating.
If you were recently arrested for any domestic crime, it’s important that you speak with a domestic violence attorney before explaining your defense to police. Even if you have evidence that proves your innocence, you could accidentally reveal information that inevitably leads to your arrest.
Jacksonville, NC domestic violence attorney Aden Wilkie represents clients in Jacksonville, Wilmington, and the surrounding areas who are arrested and charged with domestic violence-related offenses. Wilkie is dedicated to aiding you in all the elements of your case, and will use all the legal tools available to help defend you. For more information or to speak with an experienced North Carolina domestic crimes attorney today, call the Wilkie Law Firm at 910-333-9626.
NC Domestic Violence Laws
When an assault is committed against someone with whom the accused has or has previously had a personal relationship, including the alleged offender’s minor child, it is classified as domestic violence. Legislation for domestic violence situations, also known as domestic abuse, can be found under North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) 50B. The statute states that domestic violence occurs when a defendant:
- Attempted to cause bodily injury, or intentionally caused bodily injury.
- Placed the victim and/or their family in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress.
- Or committed any of the following sex-related crimes:
Simple assault, attack on a female, child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault by strangulation are among the more common criminal charges that may fall under domestic violence. Emotional abuse and verbal abuse are also examples.
Domestic Violence Defined
According to North Carolina law, to be considered domestic abuse, the parties involved must share a domestic or “personal” relationship. A domestic relationship exists between two people who are:
- Current or former spouses
- People of the opposite sex who currently live together or have lived together (including roommates)
- A parent and child (including people acting as parents to minor children) or grandparent and grandchild
- Parents of the same child
- Current or former household members
- Persons who are currently or were previously in a dating relationship
North Carolina General Statute 50B also provides certain protections to domestic violence victims. Victims can also go through the legal system to protect themselves with a court-ordered domestic violence protective order, also known as a restraining order. A domestic violence protective order can prohibit the defendant from interfering with the alleged victim of domestic violence while also assigning temporary child custody and property rights to the victim, among other provisions. The violation of a protective order can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the circumstances and whether the accused has any prior convictions.
Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony in NC?
Depending on the prosecutor trying the case, domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. If the defendant is convicted, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony has a large impact on the level of punishment he or she receives. A fine and up to one year in jail is typically the punishment for a misdemeanor, whereas felonies usually result in larger fines and lengthier prison terms.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in North Carolina
When choosing how to classify the crime, prosecutors typically take into account the severity of any injuries inflicted on the victim, the defendant’s prior convictions (if any), and whether the victim reported prior incidents of abuse by the defendant. In addition to jail time, the accused may also receive other punishments such as being required to attend mandatory anger management or domestic violence intervention programs, complete community service hours, pay a fine, or comply with a protective order.
Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony, your future may be at stake. Seek the advice of a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer to protect yourself against such a serious charge.
Assault on a Female vs Domestic Violence
To be charged with assault on a female, three requirements must be met. The first requirement is that an assault or the threat of an assault occurred. The second requirement is that the assault must have been committed against a woman. The third establishes that a male aged 18 years or older must have committed the crime.
On the other hand, domestic violence charges are not limited to crimes committed against females only. It can be considered domestic violence if the criminal action was taken against those the defendant has or has had a personal relationship with, including current or former spouses, roommates of the opposite sex, parents of the same child, a current or former intimate partner, current or former members of the same household, and minor children of the accused.
In summary, assault on a female and domestic violence are not one and the same. However, assault on a female can be considered a form of domestic violence. As a result, the charge can affect current or future employment, your right to own a firearm, and it may even be listed as a domestic violence crime on your permanent criminal record.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges?
Many times, those accused of domestic violence are arrested quickly by law enforcement officers. This can have an instantaneous negative impact on their life, one that is significant and lasts forever. The defendant is often thrown in jail or restrained by a protective order that prevents them from returning to their home. Further, a domestic violence conviction on your record can make a number of everyday things, from finding a place to live to getting a job, extremely tough.
That is why speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately after your arrest is incredibly important if you have been charged with committing a crime that constitutes domestic violence, or even if you are accused in a petition for a protective order. To successfully fight against these allegations, you’ll need the help of someone who is familiar with defending domestic violence cases in North Carolina.
At the Wilkie Law Firm, we are well aware that a charge like this can cost our clients everything. With this in mind, we work to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients no matter what. We explore all possible defenses, including those of self-defense and false accusations, and work hard to create reasonable doubt regarding these charges. Overall, having an attorney like Aden Wilkie on your side can give you peace of mind knowing your legal rights remain protected while a highly skilled legal professional fights hard on your behalf.
How Much Does a Domestic Violence Attorney Cost?
Experience is a huge factor in how much criminal defense lawyers will charge to represent you in your domestic violence case. Lawyers with less experience usually charge less than their more experienced counterparts. It is crucial to note, however, that a lawyer with more skill and a potentially higher price tag may work in your favor. Why? There’s a reason they charge more than those with less experience. Their knowledge and range of experience enable them to handle your case more quickly and effectively, saving you money (and potentially your future) in the long run.
If you have a particularly difficult case, it is likely that it will cost more to defend no matter who you hire. For example, felonies are typically charged at a higher rate than misdemeanors. That’s because felonies result in harsher punishments and require more court appearances, research, preparation, and time overall.
At the Wilkie Law Firm, we offer an initial consultation to hear the details of your case first so that we can gauge a better understanding of your domestic violence charge and explore your possible legal options together. After discussing your specific case details, we’ll be able to give you a better quote on how much you can expect to pay for our criminal defense services.
Contact Jacksonville Domestic Violence Attorney Aden Wilkie Today
If you have been charged with domestic violence or another domestic or violent crime, it is critical that you seek professional legal representation as soon as possible. The Wilkie Law Firm, led by North Carolina criminal defense attorney Aden Wilkie, will fight hard for you, either working with the prosecution for a reduced sentence or completely challenging the prosecution’s evidence and story. To get Wilkie on your side, call us at 910-333-9626 or complete our online intake form to set up your initial consultation and get straight to work.