A domestic violence charge does not mean that you are guilty of a crime. However, the people around you may treat you as though you are guilty even if you did nothing wrong. A charge like this needs attention immediately. Learn how to defend against domestic violence charges.
North Carolina Law
Domestic violence can happen to anyone in a personal relationship, whether spouses, dating partners, related family members, or roommates. The law states that if you are in a personal relationship like this with someone and you:
- Attempt to injure physically
- Intentionally cause physical injury
- Commit a sex crime (rape, battery, etc.)
- Commit child abuse
- Cause the person to feel fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- Cause the person to feel fear of continued harassment that inflicts “substantial emotional distress.” Harassment includes communication by any method you send to someone you’re in a personal relationship where your communication torments, terrorizes, or terrifies that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
- Commit any acts described in North Carolina stalking laws. These could include any pattern of following, observing, or monitoring.
When a Threat is Violence
You may not realize this, but you can be guilty of domestic violence even if you did not lay a hand on anyone. For example, if you are in a personal relationship and voiced repeated threats or attempted to hurt the individual, you are guilty under North Carolina domestic violence law.
You are also guilty if you harass the individual repeatedly, causing torment or terror. Some things that you might not believe are against the law actually can be. In the right circumstances, even the acts below are forms of domestic violence:
- A gesture such as pretending to shoot a gun at someone
- A fake punch or other almost physical threat
- Verbal threats to hurt the individual or a household pet
What Can I Do?
Legally, there are ways to get your life back on track. You’ve likely spent time in a 48-hour jail hold re-evaluating your entire life. You may have lost the family you cherish, a home, pets, and a car. You may feel betrayed while facing restraining orders demanding you stay away from an individual or even your own children.
Especially if this is a dispute with no violence on your part, your concern may be for children or pets who are with an unstable partner. You may even be a victim of abuse charged with domestic violence because you defended yourself or finally stood up for yourself or your family.
Even though accusations against you may be false, be careful not to let your emotions cause you to act in ways that are detrimental to your case. Instead, think carefully about what you say and do while waiting for the court to act.
Refrain from speaking about your case to anyone. For example, don’t discuss any of the facts on the monitor when speaking to the judge. Likewise, don’t talk about the events of your case on the jail phone when calling family members. The prosecution can use anything you say against you later on.
Getting Through the Legalities
Timeliness in these cases is vital, as court proceedings may initiate within one week. Therefore, use those first critical days after your release from a 48-hr hold to interview and hire a criminal law attorney experienced in domestic violence situations. Securing attorney representation early on is essential for building your defense, increasing the likelihood that the charges will be reduced or dismissed.
An experienced attorney can often help you reunify with your family and lift some of your legal restrictions. They can also work with the judge to have mugshots removed and represent you at your hearings.
If You Are Convicted
If convicted of a domestic violence charge in North Carolina, you will face either probation or prison time. Any conviction involving violence has the potential for long-lasting consequences such as:
- Loss of current employment
- Difficulty finding future employment
- Loss of the right to own firearms
- Difficulty renting an apartment
- Bias against you by the public in general
- No expungement of your record for convicted violent crimes
We Can Help
If you need answers about moving forward while facing domestic violence charges, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Hogan, Edwards, and Blue. We specialize in criminal defense of domestic violence charges and believe that everyone has a right to speak their truth. Regardless of guilt, we are here to lead you through the legalities of a difficult situation to regain your peace of mind. We’re ready to proactively address the issues of your case, whatever your situation. So contact us today and get started proactively defending yourself against domestic violence charges.