Being accused of committing a crime can be a traumatic experience for someone. If you are accused of hurting someone you love, the sting of accusation is even more devastating. If convicted of a domestic violence, the consequences are severe. Aside from a criminal record and the societal shaming of the offense, a person convicted of a domestic violence offense will permanently lose their rights to possess a firearm.
Because of these potentially serious consequences, you need an experienced attorney on your side to defend you in court. The defense attorneys at Guirguis Law, PA have represented numerous people charged with domestic violence offenses in court. Quite often, they are able to get the charges reduced or even dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office. They are also able to advise you though any complex legal matters that may also, including domestic violence protective order hearings aka “DVPO” hearings. If you are accused of committing a crime of domestic violence, please call our office today at 919-832-0500 to set up your free consultation.
What is Domestic Violence?
Under North Carolina law, domestic violence is defined as one of several acts against a person who has a specific type of relationship with the accused:
- Current or former husband or wife
- Person of the opposite sex who lives or has lived with the accused
- Child or grandchild
- Parent or grandparent
- A Person with whom the accused has a child
- Current or former household member
- A person of the opposite sex with whom the accused either is currently in a dating relationship, or used to date, such as a girlfriend/boyfriend or an ex.
An act of domestic violence act could be anything from intentionally causing bodily injury to another, attempting to cause bodily injury, threatening/harassing someone, stalking, rape, sexual battery or other sexual offenses.
While, at face value, the charge may appear to be the same as a non-domestic violence offense, the thing that elevates a crime to a DV offense is the specific relationship the alleged victim had with the accused. For example, if a man hits a female whom he does not have a relationship with, that crime is simply called “Assault on a Female” with a maximum punishment of up to 120 days in jail. However if a man hits a woman whose relationship fits into one of the above mentioned categories, that crime is still called “Assault on a Female” with a maximum punishment of up to 120 days in jail. However, because of that special relationship between the victim and the accused, it is now a domestic violence offense, and the potential collateral consequences of a conviction have now gotten more severe.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO)
Under North Carolina law, a person who has been the victim of domestic violence may seek a protective order from the court to prevent future abuse. These are often called “restraining orders.” The order will have significant consequences on the life of the accused.
A protective order can, among other things:
- Prohibit any communication between the parties;
- Force the accused to pay for the victim’s housing;
- Force the accused out of their home and award the alleged victim sole possession of the home,
- Award the victim possession of any personal property they may share with the accused;
- Give custody of children to the victim;
- Order the accused to pay child support/spousal support;
- Prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm; and
- Order any other action to protect the safety and health of the victim or any children involved.
Once granted, a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) remains in place for one year, at which time the victim may request a new one. Violation of any of the order’s conditions can result in significant criminal charges. Even though DVPO hearings civil matters, the skilled defense attorneys at Guirguis Law, PA can represent you in both the DVPO hearings and the related criminal case. Call our office today at 919-832-0500 to set up your free consultation.