Domestic Assaults in North Carolina


Assault crimes in North Carolina are some of the most serious crimes a person can be convicted of. With an active sentence in jail an option for almost all convictions regardless of your prior record, they are often punished very harshly by the courts. They can also never be removed from your record, as the expungement statutes expressly state that any conviction where assault is an element of the charge cannot be expunged. While there is no specific charge of domestic assault, similar to other crimes, all assaults can be domestic violence crimes. An assault that is domestic in nature carries with it additional procedures and policies that affect the movement of the case through the court system and if convicted the punishments can be even more severe than those of a regular assault conviction. If you are charged with an assault crime in North Carolina it is important that you have an experienced and knowledgeable team defending you. If you have a domestic assault case pending call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.

Some frequently asked questions when someone is charged with a domestic violence assault charge are:

1. How do I know if my case is a Domestic Case

a. First, as we have discussed, there is not specific crime for domestic assault. To determine whether your case is a domestic violence or domestic case, we must look at the relationship between you and the alleged victim and look at the documents that were given to you. A criminal case is a case involving domestic violence if the parties involved have a romantic or domestic relationship. Some examples of this are; spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, and other romantic partners regardless of gender. Generally, this is marked on your charging document (the warrant for arrest or magistrates order), which will say boy Domestic and VRA case on the document.

2. What are the main differences between a domestic assault case and a non-domestic assault case?

a. Domestic Violence cases are treated differently by the court system from their very inception. Beginning with how the conditions of release are set/handled, these cases often involve not only different procedures but also additional procedures. For example, if your assault case is marked as a crime of domestic violence, the magistrate who sees you in jail cannot set your bond immediately, as they would in a non-domestic assault case. Instead, they must hold you for 48 hours or until you can be put in front of a district court judge, whichever happens first. Another key difference is that a judge often times orders no contact with the victim, which can remove you from your home and cause additional stress when dealing with shared children.

3. My partner and I were both hitting each other why are our charges different?

a. This is a common question when dealing with romantic couples who have assaulted each other. Often times the female partner will be charged with the class 2 misdemeanor simple assault, while the male partner will be charged with the much more severe class A1 misdemeanor Assault on a female. This is because the North Carolina statutes make it a more aggravated crime if the defendant is a male over the age of 18 and the victim is a female.

4. Can my partner just go to the magistrate/clerk and drop the charges?

a. NO, this is one of the most common misconceptions that arise out of domestic assault cases. Often the person who called the police did not want their partner to get arrested, but when the police arrived they weren’t given much of a choice, or they went to the magistrate in a moment of anger and took the charges out and have now had a change of heart about it and want to dismiss the charges. Unfortunately, they cannot just dismiss the charges, once charges are taken out, the power to dismiss the charges rests solely with the district attorney’s office and most district attorney’s offices will not dismiss the charges until the case gets to court.

5. If I get convicted, what is the worst that can happen?

a. Depending on the severity of the charge, some domestic assault convictions carry with them the possibility of going to jail. Even if you are not sentenced to jail, instead you get probation, you will not be allowed to have contact with your spouse for the duration of your probation, which could mean you are not allowed to return to your home or may create problems with child custody situations. Another key punishment that comes with a domestic assault conviction is that you become ineligible to own or possess a firearm. Under federal law, any conviction of a crime of domestic assault, whether felony or misdemeanor makes you ineligible to own or possess a firearm.

Domestic Assault charges are very serious crimes, if you are facing these charges it is vital that you have the best defense possible because the effects of these kinds of convictions are felt forever. If you have been charged with a domestic assault call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today!