In the state of North Carolina, domestic violence is unfortunately common. For that reason, the North Carolina domestic violence laws do not take domestic violence cases lightly.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you could be facing a slew of life-altering penalties you may not be aware of.
To avoid the most severe domestic violence penalties, it is important to understand how domestic violence laws work in North Carolina.
If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges, keep reading to find out exactly what you’re dealing with.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina laws, domestic violence occurs when an assault occurs between a perpetrator and a person with whom they have a personal relationship.
Domestic violence also applies when there is an assault against the minor child of a person with whom the perpetrator has a personal relationship.
Crimes of domestic violence can look like any of the following acts:
- Attempting or causing intentional bodily harm
- Instilling fear of imminent bodily harm or harassment and emotional distress in the victim or a member of their family
- First or second-degree rape
- Sexual offense with a child
- Statutory rape
- Sexual battery
There is not a specific crime of domestic violence. Instead, it can be charged as a variety of different offenses. These may include simple assault, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault by strangulation.
Often, domestic violence crimes are charged as misdemeanors. In more serious cases, like many of those mentioned above, domestic violence can also become a felony.
Understanding the Different Charges and Penalties
In order to better understand the possible domestic violence penalties and charges, we’ll break some of the most common ones down for you. Then we will discuss the special conditions judges can order during sentencing.
Simple assault refers to the unlawful assault of another individual. It is the least serious of the crimes related to domestic violence. Simple assault is defined under common law.
The two types of actions that constitute simple assault include “overt act or attempt” and “assault by show of violence.”
An overt act or attempt is when the perpetrator does something or attempts to do something that instills fear of physical harm in another person. It is considered a simple assault even if the victim does not suffer physical harm.
Assault by show of violence requires three different elements to constitute simple assault. First, the perpetrator must demonstrate the ability to inflict injury on the victim. Second, the action must instill reasonable fear of harm.
Finally, the victim of the assault must take some kind of action they would not typically take in reaction to the threat of harm.
Simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class 2 misdemeanor can include up to 30 days in jail (first offense) or up to 60 days in jail (second or subsequent conviction).
Assault on a Female
Assault on a female happens when a male of 18 years or older does one of two things to a female of any age. These two actions include: threatening physical harm or engaging in offensive physical contact.
Assault on a female is a Class A1 misdemeanor and, therefore, the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in the state of North Carolina.
If convicted, the sentence is 60 days in jail (first offense) and up to 150 days in jail (second or subsequent conviction).
Assault With a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
In the event the perpetrator commits assault or assault and battery and uses a deadly weapon, the assault can be classified as a Class A1 misdemeanor. In this case, the penalties for the crime would be similar to assault on a female.
Assault with a deadly weapon becomes a felony charge when the perpetrator assaults the victim with the intent to kill them or seriously injure them. If there is intent to kill or serious injury occurs, it is a Class E felony.
If there is intent to kill and serious injury occurs, it is a Class C felony. A Class E felony can receive a penalty of 15 to 31 months in prison. A Class C felony can get from 44 to 98 months in prison.
What constitutes a deadly weapon is not specifically defined in the assault with a deadly weapon statute, but it can include any object that could kill another person. A gun, knife, or another type of blunt object is a deadly weapon.
Similarly, any item that is used to kill is considered a deadly weapon, even if it is not typically thought of as a deadly weapon. When an item was used to kill a person it falls under the category of a deadly weapon.
Assault By Strangulation
Another crime related to domestic violence is an assault by strangulation. To get convicted of assault by strangulation, the perpetrator must have caused the victim physical injury through the act of strangulation.
Assault by strangulation is a Class H felony. It comes with a sentence of between four months and 25 months in prison.
Domestic Violence Laws and Sentencing
When a crime constitutes domestic violence, the judge may impose special terms of probation. They may include any of the following conditions.
These can be as basic as successfully completing a drug treatment program. It can also involve requiring the defendant to abstain from drug and alcohol consumption and undergo monitoring to ensure this happens.
The judge can also require the defendant to live under some type of house arrest and leave home only to get to work and school, for example.
The judge may also require the defendant to get medical or psychiatric treatment. It can also be part of the terms of their sentencing that the defendant remains in an institution for treatment.
The judge can also require the defendant to either attend or reside in a center that offers rehab, counseling, training, or treatment for individuals on probation.
Arrested for Domestic Violence?
If you are in jail for a charge related to domestic violence in North Carolina, it is important that you understand the domestic violence laws that apply to your case. There are many different convictions and penalties.
In addition, judges can order special terms of probation for a domestic violence case. The best thing you can do is hire a domestic violence lawyer.
If you or someone you know are currently in jail for domestic violence charges, a bail bondsman can help you get out while you await your trial. Contact A Be Out Bail Bonding or call (252) 227-9873.