If I Was Arrested for a Domestic Violence Charge, Do I Have To Stay in Jail for 48 Hours?


North Carolina General Statute § 15A-534.1.

The simplest answer is NO. Why? A deep dive into North Carolina General Statute § 15A-534.1 – Crimes of domestic violence; bail and pretrial release, is required to understand the answer.

The general public might know this rule to be called the “48-hour hold.” That description tends to misguide the general public into thinking that you must stay in jail for 48 hours before you can be released again when you have been charged with a domestic violence-related charge. That is not necessarily the case in all circumstances.

Under the statute, when the defendant is charged with assault on, stalking, communicating a threat to, or committing a felony upon a spouse or former spouse, a person with whom the defendant lives or has lived as if married, or a person with whom the defendant is or has been in a dating relationship as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(b)(6), a judge, rather than a magistrate, must set the defendant’s bond.

Under this rule, if there is a judge available (or if Court is in session) the judge is authorized to address the matter and the defendant can be brought before the judge. However, in the situation where a judge is not available, then after 48 hours have elapsed, a magistrate should set a bond for the defendant. For example, this situation would apply where the defendant was arrested on a Friday evening (when the courts are closed and no judges will be working until the following Monday). In that situation, on Sunday evening (after 48 hours elapsed from Friday’s arrest), a magistrate should set a bond.

In cases involving Domestic Violence, how does North Carolina define a “personal relationship?”

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(a), domestic violence occurs when certain acts are committed upon an injured party or on a minor child living with the injured party by someone with whom the injured party has or has had a personal relationship. A personal relationship is defined as (1) current or former spouses; (2) persons of the opposite sex who live together or have lived together; (3) roommates living in the same household; (4) persons of the same sex who live together or have lived together; (5) are related as parents and children, including others acting in place of a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren; (6) current or former household members; and/or (7) are persons of the opposite or same sex who are in or have been in a dating relationship.

How does North Carolina define a dating relationship?

To clarify, a dating relationship is one wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary flirting between persons in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.

If you, a loved one, or a friend has been arrested or currently has a warrant out for his or her arrest pertaining to a Domestic Violence related charge, it is significantly important that you contact our criminal defense legal team right away at 704.333.1114. The criminal defense at Jetton and Meredith has years of experience dealing with domestic violence-related charges and would be able to assist right away.