When it comes to domestic violence law in Charlotte, North Carolina, the area includes several different charges, including harassing phone calls, cyber-stalking, assault, stalking, a violation of a domestic violence protection order, and communicating threats. But, there is a common factor among these charges, which is that the defendant and the victim must have a personal relationship with each other.
The state takes this type of violence seriously, with courtrooms devoted to domestic violence issues. If you have been charged with this type of crime or you have been served with a Domestic Violence Protective Order, you could face time in jail, and your child custody, the right to own a firearm, and your employment may all be affected.
If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, the District Attorney’s office will forcefully prosecute the case. Just because your spouse or partner says they will drop the charges does not mean your case will be dismissed. It is at the peril of the District Attorney’s office whether or not the charges are dropped, which is why you will need an experienced attorney on your side.
Two of the most common types of charges in this arena are stalking and assault.
Stalking as a Domestic Violence Charge
Stalking tends to refer to any activity intended to instill fear in a person for their own or their loved one’s safety, or cause a person to suffer significant emotional stress due to fear of harassment, injury, and even death.
If you are convicted of stalking and it is your first conviction and first offense, it is considered a Class A1 misdemeanor and you could face up to 150 days of jail time. If you have other convictions, it may be considered a Class F felony. If you stalk while a court order is in place prohibiting stalking, it considered a Class H felony.
Another kind of stalking that is growing in occurrence is cyberstalking. There are three kinds of cyberstalking:
- Using electronic communications or email to send a falsified statement
- Repeated using email for harassment
- Using email or other kinds of electronic communication the inflict or threaten bodily harm, extort money, or damage property
Assault as a Domestic Violence Charge
Assault on a female is one of the most common types of domestic violence charges. It is seen to be an A1 misdemeanor and this means that if you are charged for assault on a female, you could spend up to 150 days in jail and incur a fine. It is only males over 18 years of age that can be charged with assault on a female.
How to Obtain a Domestic Violence Protection Order in Charlotte, N.C.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may need to know how to obtain a protective order against your spouse or partner. The domestic violence protection order (DVPO) is also referred to as a 50B or a restraining order. It is a piece of paper signed by a judge that orders the abuser to stop the assault or face legal consequences. The order offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both men and women.
The first step in obtaining a DVPO is to go to the district courthouse in Charlotte and ask the magistrate or clerk for the necessary forms. You must only sign the forms in the presence of a clerk or notary. According to NCGS 1-82, you can file an order of protection in the county in which you live or the county where your abuser lives.
Once you have the forms, fill out the complaint and request a temporary order for immediate protection. You will then need to fill out the top part of a civil summons and include identifying information about the abuser.
Appear before the judge to request a temporary DVPO be entered.
Take the forms to the Sherriff’s Office for service. Notice of the hearing must be served on the abuser so that he or she can also attend the follow up DVPO hearing.
Temporary vs. Final DVPO
A temporary domestic violence protective order can protect you from the time the order is entered until your hearing takes place, which is usually within ten days. The temporary order is also a court order aimed at giving you and your loved one’s immediate protection. A judge is able to issue a temporary protective order the same day that you file a complaint if it is deemed that you are in immediate and severe danger. The order will only be enforced once the abuser is served with a copy.
However, a final DVPO offers the same protection but is valid for up to one year.
If you have a child living with you and you are concerned for your child’s safety, you can also ask the judge to order that the abuser stay away from the child. Or you can also ask the judge to order that the abuser does not hurt your pets that live with you and may be in danger. This order can be incorporated in the temporary or final DVPO.
Violating a Domestic Violence Protective Order
In North Carolina, it is a serious offense to violate a Domestic Violence Protective Order. If you are charged with such an offense, you must understand that just because the person who filed for the order no longer wishes to press charges, doesn’t mean the state is going to drop your charges.
A common example of violating a DVPO is where a woman takes out an order against her partner. A few days or weeks later, the couple get back together but they do not drop the DVPO. Then, the couple have a fight and she charges him with violating the order, even though she was the one who initiated contact with her partner. The man is then likely to be convicted of violating the order. So, any contact made during the time that the DVPO is in place can get the abuser in trouble.
Speak to a Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
An experienced Charlotte NC family law attorney at Remington & Dixon will help you file for a DVPO and make the process much easier for you.