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North Carolina Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse is classified into cases where an act of violence occurs between people living together in a relationship. Domestic Violence in North Carolina has a rather lengthy definition that meticulously incorporates elements that make the law protective enough for the victim and offensive enough for the offender.

Definition

The Act of Domestic Abuse is defined as when a person commits a violent act against another person that he or she is living with, in a relationship. A person commits domestic abuse when,

  • The individual intentionally causes bodily harm to the person he or she is living with.
  • Threatens to bring bodily harm to the victim or the victim's family thus bringing substantial emotional stress to the victim.
  • Committing sex-related offenses, sexual battery, etc.
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Relationship

A relationship which occurs as an element in the definition of domestic abuse is described as:

  • A relationship in which both individuals living together are spouses.
  • A person of the opposite sex who once lived with the offender.
  • Related by way of being a parent or a child, grandparents or grandchildren.
  • Persons who were in a live-in or dating relationship.

Sentencing in North Carolina

The Criminal Laws of North Carolina state specifically that domestic violence charges apply to the offender regardless of the fact that he is in a personal relationship with the victim or not. The judge also determines the kind of relationship the offender had with the victim. If a personal relationship exists, the offender is categorized as a domestic violence offender and sanctioned entries will be made in the system. This would help pull up his history if he repeats the offense.

Additionally, the judge will order the defendant to adhere to some terms related to his probation which may include:

  • The judge may require the defendant to undergo a medical and psychiatric evaluation. The defendant will have to remain in a specified psychiatric institution until deemed necessary.
  • The judge may also require the offender to attend rehabilitation, treatment, and counseling program. This program can be a resident program or be available to attend it as per the requirement of the state.
  • A drug treatment program exists for those that resorted to violence under the influence of drugs.
  • The judge can also order the offender against consuming alcohol. He may also order the defendant to report each day for alcohol monitoring.
  • The court may also require the defendant to strictly stay at home except for purposes such as employment or school.
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Protective Orders for the Victim

A victim of domestic abuse reserves the right to petition the court for protection in order to prevent further abuse from the offender. An emergency protective order can be filed in court if the victim foresees a repeated imminent danger from the offender. The person can also petition the court for protection if he or she feels that a minor child may become the victim.

In such petitions, the judge can grant an ex parte protective order to prevent any possible acts of violence against the victim. The ex parte protective order is executed without a hearing taking into consideration the seriousness of the situation.

However, once the opportunity for an official hearing arises and after hearing out the arguments on both sides, the court will issue a protective order with the following provisions in place:

  • The court will issue a prohibition order that forbids the defendant from committing any further abuse.
  • Prohibit the defendant from staying at home.
  • If the victim is staying at the defendant's house, the defendant will be ordered to vacate the house or help make arrangements for alternate housing for the victim.
  • Prohibit the defendant from harassing the victim by phone or visiting the victim's place of work etc.
  • Prohibiting the defendant from buying firearms during the period of trial.
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