At King Law, we understand the gravity of a domestic violence charge. Our team of experienced and compassionate domestic violence lawyers in Gastonia, NC are committed to guiding you through the legal process, defending your rights, and ensuring you have the strongest defense possible.
Understanding Domestic Violence in North Carolina
Domestic violence cases involve intricate legal procedures, sensitive personal dynamics, and potential long-term consequences. In North Carolina, domestic violence laws are outlined in Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes. While many think of domestic violence as acts committed between intimate partners, the law defines it as any violent act between family or household members.
North Carolina law defines domestic violence as any act causing bodily injury or fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment between individuals who share a personal relationship. The legal system views such cases with a high degree of seriousness.
Types of Acts
Domestic violence isn’t limited to physical harm. It covers a wide range of acts, from stalking and harassment to sexual assault and threats. Whether these acts are physical, emotional, or psychological, they can lead to a domestic violence charge.
Who It Applies To
Domestic violence law in North Carolina applies to current or former spouses, people living together or who have lived together, parents and children, or individuals in a dating relationship. The law casts a wide net to protect victims, but it also presents opportunities for misinterpretations and false accusations.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Allegations
A domestic violence charge can have a significant impact on your life. It can affect your career, your familial relationships, and even your ability to purchase a firearm. In North Carolina, a domestic violence charge is a serious matter that requires a skilled defense.
For example, a restraining order, or a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), can limit your freedom significantly. You may be forced to move out of your home, lose custody of your children, or be prohibited from owning firearms. It can also affect your employment, especially if your job involves carrying a weapon.
Implications of Domestic Violence Convictions
When it comes to sentencing for domestic assault and similar offenses, several aspects are considered. These include the specific charges being faced, past convictions, history of alcohol misuse, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Additionally, the defense strategy employed by your Gastonia criminal defense lawyer can influence the outcome.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Consequences
Despite the general perception that misdemeanor convictions do not lead to significant incarceration time, A1 misdemeanors can result in up to 150 days in state prison. These can encompass offenses such as assault, assault and battery, or employing a deadly weapon to cause serious harm. A1 misdemeanor offenses can be charged if the victim is a female and the perpetrator is a male, if the victim is a child under 12 years old, or if the offense occurred in the presence of a minor under 18 years with whom the offender has a personal relationship.
A1 misdemeanors also include stalking, sexual battery, knowingly breaching a valid protective order, and pointing a gun as a form of assault. Domestic violence convictions may initially result in county jail time, but subsequent offenses can lead to longer prison sentences. In fact, even first-time felony domestic violence offenses can result in over a year of prison time.
Felony Domestic Violence Consequences
Felonies committed in violation of a restraining order are treated seriously by the justice system. The charges are elevated to one class higher than the original felony. The classification of felonies ranges from Class A to Class I, and sentencing guidelines consider an offender’s past convictions, structured into Levels 1-6. To illustrate, a conviction for a class B1, Level 6 felony could result in a sentence of up to 483 months in prison.
Offenses related to domestic violence can carry hefty prison sentences, highlighting the importance of competent criminal defense attorneys. Without proper representation, navigating the legal system becomes a daunting task.
Class H Felony
Class H felonies, for example, can include stalking despite a court-issued order, unauthorized entry into a shelter for domestic violence victims, violation of protective order provisions related to firearms, or repeated breaches of a valid protective order. These crimes can also involve serious bodily harm, strangulation, habitual misdemeanor assault, or discharging a firearm to incite fear. Penalties can range from 4 to 25 months in prison.
Class E Felony
A Class E felony involves more severe crimes, such as sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian, discharging firearms into occupied structures, throwing corrosive acid or alkali with malicious intent, secret assaults, and dangerous assaults with a weapon intending to cause serious injury or death. Convictions can lead to a prison term ranging from 15 to 63 months.
Class D Felony
Class D felonies can involve discharging weapons or firearms into operational vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, or other forms of conveyance. Sentences can span from 38 to 160 months in prison.
Class C felonies include second-degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a person 15 years or younger, second-degree forcible sexual offense, and discharging firearms into occupied property causing serious harm. Other offenses in this class include mutilation, maiming, and castration. Such convictions can lead to between 44 and 182 months in prison.
Class B1 Felony
Lastly, Class B1 felonies are among the most serious and include first-degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a person 15 years or younger, first-degree forcible sexual offense, and first-degree statutory sexual offense. Penalties for these offenses can range from 144 to 483 months in prison.
How King Law Can Help
The team at King Law possesses a deep understanding of North Carolina’s domestic violence laws and has years of experience defending clients against such charges. Our domestic violence attorneys in Gastonia understand the factors that can influence your case and use that knowledge to build a robust defense strategy.
Every case is unique, and that’s why our domestic violence lawyers tailor our approach to your specific circumstances. We will examine all the details of your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument, and devise a defense strategy that aligns with your best interests.
Get Help Now for Domestic Violence Charges in Gastonia — Contact King Law
From your initial arrest to trial and possible appeals, we’ll stand with you at every stage of the process. Our domestic violence lawyers will guide you through the intricacies of the North Carolina legal system, ensuring you understand your rights and options at each step.
If you or someone you know is facing a domestic violence charge in Gastonia, North Carolina, don’t face it alone. Contact us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING today to schedule a consultation. You can also fill out our contact form.