It’s become commonplace to read news about violence in a relationship between two people, or in a home situation. Commonly called “domestic violence,” it can occur with individuals in personal relationships, including:
- Persons currently or previously married
- Unmarried individuals who are dating or were dating at one point
- Unmarried individuals who currently live together, or previously lived together
- Parents of the same child
- Parent and child
- Other relatives, including grandparents and child who act as a parent to a minor child
Domestic violence occurs in all types of homes without regard to race, sex, national origin, or socioeconomic status. In 2020, current statistics show that 43.9% of women and 19.3% of men experience some form of domestic violence in North Carolina. This moves the Tar Heel State into the ten states with the highest rate of domestic violence.
Types Of Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines it as:
“. . .the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence vary dramatically.”
The NCADV reports that every year, 10 million people are abused by an intimate partner. Family members such as children, siblings, parents, and grandparents can also potential targets of abuse through:
- Physical violence, including restraining, striking, pushing, or other actions to cause harm
- Verbal and emotional abuse, using statements to control and demean the other person, making them feel useless and empty
- Psychological abuse, statements or actions made with the intent to strike fear in the victim
- Stalking and “checking up,” unwanted and repeated surveillance against another person, including:
- Showing up at home, work, or elsewhere without notice or an invitation
- Following you going to work, errands, or elsewhere
- Calling after being asked to stop
- Calling work, school, friends, or relatives to ask about you
- Sending unwanted letters, texts, emails, or voicemails
- Waiting at places you frequent
- Following and watching you on social media
- Causing damage to your home, car, or other possessions
- Leaving evidence that they’ve visited and are following you around
- Financial abuse, in which the victim has no control over their finances, or is not allowed to work or even have money.
Victims can request Domestic Violence Protection Orders that offer them legal protection. Ex parte temporary orders are immediate, and protect the victim until trial, about ten days. Final domestic protection orders can last up to a full year. They are issued after a court hearing where the defendant can speak for him or herself in defense. These orders can be extended as needed.
North Carolina does not have specific charges for domestic violence. Instead, a person arrested for will be charged for the specific crime, such as assault. Anything related to domestic violence incurs additional penalties. If the court discovers that the individual charged with a crime has a personal relationship with the victim, the records will show that the crime was domestic violence.
The court can include additional terms to probation, including:
- Treatment, including medical and/or psychiatric as an inpatient
- Successfully complete drug treatment and rehabilitation
- Refrain from alcohol consumption and be subjected to monitoring
- Require the defendant to remain at home except for school, work, etc.
Resources For Victims
There are remedies available for those in a difficult situation. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24/7.
Domestic Shelters has a listing of shelters in the state where emergency help and housing is available.
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a list of service providers on its website (scroll down past the section on COVID Relief Funds.)
The North Carolina Department of Administration also has a list of programs for those in need of assistance.
If You’re Accused And/Or Charged
While domestic violence is a serious matter for victims, it’s also wielded as a weapon in divorces and child custody cases. Vindictive spouses and partners claim domestic violence with the idea that it will “help” their cases and goals. The intent may be to get full custody of children, a higher amount of financial support or settlement, or a larger share of marital property (such as the family home.) False accusations of domestic violence frequently backfire, but not until it’s done significant damage to the other party.
Accusing another person of anything is easy, including domestic violence. Even an accusation without any evidence can land someone in the back of a police car. It’s the call most police officers fear the most because it also puts them in danger while trying to diffuse tension. Once they arrive, they must make an arrest.
As a defendant, it’s important to adhere to and comply with any restraining orders that are issued against you. If you don’t, additional criminal charges can be filed, be arrested, and spend time in jail.
If you are accused of domestic violence, the only way to defend yourself is in court with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Failing to appear allows the court to issue a permanent order. Your attorney will work to protect your rights and help you avoid additional legal issues stemming from the original charges.
Domestic Violence Is A Serious Charge
If you’ve been charged with any form of domestic violence, you must have a strong defense when going to trial. Without it, you could be facing jail time.
Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who can defend you against charges of domestic violence. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your criminal defense case at (919) 832-0307. You can also use our online contact form.