Domestic violence offenses are among the most serious crimes charged, but often times accusations are exaggerated and are driven by different motives. In Raleigh domestic violence court, there are many cases filed that are not based on actual events. For whatever reason, usually to effect a civil case or simply to cause distress to the named defendant, a person can find themselves arrested, held in custody, and facing serious criminal charges.
That is not to say that all domestic violences cases are based on false accusations. To the contrary, most of these cases arise from either serious physical or emotional abuse caused by one side of a relationship to the other. In either scenario, it is important to have an experienced domestic violence attorney to help guide someone to a favorable outcome. There are dozens of factors that can change how these types of cases are resolved, and having the right attorney can be the difference between a dismissal and jail time. Domestic violence cases routinely strip people of their right to stay in their home or to see their children. The turn around time for court is usually fast, and preparing your defense soon after being charged can make a big difference in your case.
Being falsely accused of domestic violence can leave a person wondering what they did wrong or inappropriately. Even if you feel that you have nothing to hide, you should always talk to a domestic violence defense attorney before speaking with anyone else. The district attorney and officers involved will be able to turn almost anything you say against you.
Being Arrest for Domestic Violence in Wake County
Pursuant to North Carolina law, a person arrested for a domestic violence offense might face 48 hours in jail before being allowed to post whatever bond is set. After finally being released, there will be conditions placed on you for the duration of the criminal case. In Wake County, these generally include no contact with the alleged victim, not being able to go to your home, and sometimes no contact with other loved ones depending on the case.
A court date will be set within the next few weeks, and for some, they will also be served with a temporary restraining order. The accused can request that the restraining order be extended for one year. This is a separate court setting in a different building. It is not uncommon for a domestic violence defendant to have to deal with two separate court dates with possibly two separate punishments for being accused of one instance of domestic violence. More information on domestic violence protective orders can be found below.
How is Domestic Violence Defined in North Carolina?
Most people would only consider an act of physical violence between spouses or partners to be domestic violence. Even though this is commonly the case, it in no way encompasses the many other ways that these types of charges arise. Domestic violence can occur between an two people in a personal relationship, whether it be spouses, exes, family members, or sometimes roommates. Also, a person can be charged with a domestic violence crime without anyone being physically harmed. Sometimes the threat of imminent physical harm is enough to satisfy the specific statute.
Common forms of domestic violence:
- Intent to harm
- Causing actual physical harm (assault)
- Commission of a sex crime (rape, battery, etc.)
- Harassing Phone Calls or Other Communications
- Child abuse
Being convicted of a domestic violence offense could land someone with a probationary sentence or jail time. These convictions can carry even bigger consequences with regards to someone’s criminal record. Most employers and landlords look at domestic violence convictions with more scrutiny that other types of crimes, and gaining employment or finding a place to live can become terribly difficult. Your right to own or possess a firearm can also be taken away in some cases.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina
A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), or commonly referred to as a 50B or restraining order, is a specific type of civil protection tailored for victims of domestic violence. These types of orders give victims very broad protections against further offenses and also gives the police broad power to arrest anyone that violates the 50B order. With these broader protections come more severe punishments which include being charged with a serious criminal offense. The criminal offense of violating a 50B order can carry up to 150 days in jail. Just like a domestic violence charge, it is very important that you seek out an experienced DVPO defense attorney to help you navigate this process.
How is a DVPO Put In Place in North Carolina?
For a 50B Order to be put in place for an extended period of time, the alleged victim will have to appear before a judge on two separate occasions. First, the victim must file an ex parte protective order and testify as to why they should be granted a DVPO against a defendant. Ex parte refers to actions brought by only one side of a case. The defendant will not be present for this first court hearing. If the judge agrees to grant the protective order, it will only be in place for ten days. Within that ten days, there will be a second court date set where both the victim and the defendant are present. If the defendant wants to contest the protective order against him or her, the court will conduct a trial to determine whether there is reasonable grounds to make the protective order permanent. A permanent DVPO is valid for one year, and a victim can file to have it extended again at the end of that year.
If a judge decides that the DVPO should be extended, the defendant will be under all the conditions that were in effect during the initial ten day order. An overview of some common DVPO conditions are listed below. If a judge does not feel that there are reasonable grounds to extend the DVPO, the defendant will be under no civil obligation to comply with the conditions of the initial ten day order.
If you are a named defendant in a 50B and you wish to contest the protective order being extended for one year, you only have a few days to find an experienced DVPO defense attorney.
Different Types of DVPO Violations in North Carolina
A 50B protective order will come with a number of conditions that the defendant must comply with. If you find yourself as a defendant a 50B order these are the possible conditions that could be applied to you in that case:
- No contact, including with household members or children
- Temporary possession of a residence while excluding the defendant
- Granting temporary ownership of a pet
- Order the defendant to stay away from specific places associated with the victim, such as school, work, children’s daycare or school, or a certain distance at all times (500 feet)
- Granting temporary use of a vehicle
Other conditions can be placed on the defendant in the discretion of the whatever judge is
presiding that day. Violating any of these conditions can lead to the defendant being charged with a new misdemeanor offense. There are some instances where a violation may result in a felony charge. These may include repeated violations or committing a violation while utilizing a deadly weapon.
Finding the Right Domestic Violence and DVPO Attorney in Raleigh
You don’t have to face domestic violence accusations or a DVPO hearing alone. Steven Saad is a former Wake County District Attorney who spent a large amount of time as the supervising prosecutor in all Wake County domestic violence cases. Steven also has extensive experience in 50B hearings and routinely handles both the criminal and civil cases for his clients charged with domestic violence. Our firm knows whats at stake in these cases. There is usually much more on the line that just someone’s criminal record. Use an domestic violence defense attorney with an unparalleled knowledge of how both sides work. Don’t waste your opportunity to speak with a former prosecutor before moving forward with these serious offenses.