The New Crime of Domestic Violence In North Carolina

Domestic Violence

One of the most common questions that comes up in the North Carolina Justice System is what is the crime of Domestic Violence. Until recently, the answer was just any crime that was committed between two people who share what is commonly called a “domestic” relationship. Common examples of domestic relationships were spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, parent and child, and more. The area of domestic violence crimes was also the source of one of the greatest disparities in the criminal justice system; if both parties had assaulted each other, then the man would be charged with the class A1 misdemeanor Assault on a Female, and the woman would be charged with the class 2 misdemeanor Simple Assault. In May of 2023, the North Carolina Legislature changed all of this.

Effective December 1, 2023, there will be a new crime of Domestic Violence. Punished as a class A1 misdemeanor, there is no gender attached to this new crime. Instead, the new statute states that a person is guilty of this new crime if the state is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The relationship between the parties is that of:
    1. Current or former spouse
    2. Parent or Guardian and Child
    3. The parties share a child in common
    4. The parties are living together or have lived together as spouse, parent or guardian and child.
    5. A person who is similarly situated as parent or guardian to the victim,
    6. Is in or recently has been in a dating relationship
  2. The defendant used or attempted to use physical force against the victim, or threatened the use of a deadly weapon against the victim.

If the state is able to prove these two things, then you would be found guilty of the new crime of domestic violence. Which because it is punished as a class A1 misdemeanor, means that you can go to jail regardless of your prior record.

It is also important to know that the new North Carolina law tracks with federal legislation regarding the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This is important because if you are convicted of this new charge in North Carolina, it will more than likely affect your ability to own, purchase, or possess a firearm.

If you or someone you know is facing charges of either the new crime of domestic violence or any of the current crimes under the umbrella of domestic violence, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.