Currently in North Carolina, there is not a charge for domestic violence. However, there are charges like assault on a female or simple assault. Pursuant to Senate Bill 20 (Session Law 2023-14), otherwise known as the “Abortion Bill,” the North Carolina General Assembly approved the passing of a new misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. One of the main goals of this addition to prevent individuals that are convicted of domestic violence to not be allowed to buy or own a gun. Also, as part of the Abortion Bill, the Assembly made assaulting a pregnant woman its own charge as well.
New Law (N.C.G.S. § 14-32.5):
What will be known as Section 14-32.5, the new misdemeanor crime of domestic violence closely mirrors our already Chapter 50B protective order statutes. The statute states that a person is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor if that person uses or attempts to use physical force, or threatens the use of a deadly weapon, against another person and the person who commits the offense is:
- A current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.
- A person with whom the victim shares a child in common.
- A person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian.
- A person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.
- A person who has a current or recent former dating relationship with the victim.
Current State Law Definition of “Dating Relationship”
Under Chapter 50B, 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 fraternization between persons in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.
Dating Relationship Under the NEW STATUTE:
According to the North Carolina General Assembly the Federal Statutes meaning will be controlling. Under 18 U.S.C. §921, a dating relationship is between individuals who have or have recently had a continuous serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
In making its decision on whether it is a dating relationship or not, the court will have to take into consideration (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the nature of the relationship, and (3) the frequency and type of interaction between the individuals involved in the relationship. Also, mirroring the State meaning, a casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a dating relationship.
A Class A1 misdemeanor is the highest misdemeanor in North Carolina. Depending upon your prior criminal history, if a person is found guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor, that individual could face up to 150 jails in jail as well as, owe any fines or restitution.
When Does this Law Take Effect?
This new charge takes effect on December 1, 2023. Until then, an individual will not be charged with this offense because the law is not in effect yet.