Domestic Violence on College Campuses in North Carolina

Domestic Violence on College Campuses

Domestic violence cases are some of the most serious and difficult cases in the North Carolina Justice System. When the case involves people on a college campus or students at a college in North Carolina, the process becomes even more complicated and important. When a student is accused of committing an act of domestic violence there can be ramifications in both the civil and criminal justice systems, as well as ramifications at the college or university. Here are four things to know if you or someone you know is accused of Domestic Violence on a college campus.

  1. Don’t talk to anyone without a lawyer

This is probably one of the most important things to know if you are accused of domestic violence on a college campus, is to keep quiet about your case and the circumstances surrounding it. Everything you say can and will be used against you. It is important to know that the police, investigators, or other students/faculty are not your friends in this situation. Rarely, are these people trying to really get your side of the story; more often, they are trying to get a statement from you that they can use against you in the future. If you find yourself in a position where someone is trying to ask you questions about an alleged Domestic Violence Incident, tell them you want to speak to a lawyer, and immediately stop talking.

  1. The Civil Process - DVPO

One of the first things that usually comes out of any domestic violence situation, is a restraining order. In North Carolina, the restraining order for domestic relationships is called a Domestic Violence Protective Order, often called a 50B because the statute that controls such order is N.C.G.S Chapter 50B. The process for a 50B is as follows:

  • Filing the action and the Ex-Parte Order - The Victim in the case will go to the courthouse, file a complaint and motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order. Then they will go in front of a judge who will decide on whether or not to grant an ex-parte or temporary order. This temporary order lasts until a hearing on the matter can be held.
  • Hearing for a “permanent” Order – This initial hearing must be scheduled within ten (10) days of the temporary order being granted. It is important to have an attorney for these hearings because the full rules of evidence and procedure apply. Furthermore, these hearings often take place prior to any other interview, hearing, or trial and therefore the recordings on these hearings are often used as evidence in future proceedings. If the Judge hearing the case for the permanent order decides that there has been an act of domestic violence and that the other necessary elements have been satisfied, they will issue the 50B for a period of one (1) year.
  • Extending the Order – If the one-year period of the 50B is coming up and the victim still feels like they need the protection of the 50B longer, they can file to extend the order for an additional period of up to two years. In order to do this, they must make a showing of good cause to the judge for them to issue the extension. This process can be repeated for as long as the judge finds good cause to do so.
  1. The Criminal Process – Criminal Charges, Bond Process, and Conditions of Release

The criminal process for a domestic violence situation can be started in one of two ways: the police are called and make an arrest; or in the state of North Carolina, the victim can go to the magistrate and take out misdemeanor criminal charges on their own. Either way if a warrant for arrest is issued in a Domestic Case, the process is vastly different from that of a normal criminal case.

  • The BOND Process: Unlike normal criminal cases, if you are arrested for a case involving domestic violence, the magistrate in the jail cannot set your bond immediately. Instead, you can be held for 48 hours or until you can be seen by a district court judge, whichever occurs first. These rules have led some counties’ magistrates to set what are commonly referred to as “exploding bonds”. An exploding bond is when a magistrate sets your case up with a bond at an initial hearing but states that it is not in effect for 48 hours.
  • Additional Conditions of Release: When your case involves domestic violence, the judge or magistrate will often set additional conditions on your release. These conditions can range from no offensive contact with the victim, to no contact at all with the victim, to electronic monitoring. These additional conditions can often cause difficulty when the parties involved are married, living together, or have children in common. If you have a case where these additional conditions of release are causing trouble, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so that they can assist you in getting these conditions changed or lifted entirely.
  1. The Title IX Process – The School’s process

The Title IX process is another step in any domestic violence situation. Different from the civil restraining order and the criminal charges this process takes place entirely under the jurisdiction of the school. This process often involves an interview, findings being made by the school’s faculty member in charge of your case, followed by an opportunity to mediate the situation to come to an agreed upon resolution, and if that fails then a hearing in front of a panel at the school. Depending on the severity of your case and the situation in the court system, participation in this process may or may not be in your best interest. It is important to have an attorney on your side who is not only familiar with this process, but with the criminal and civil process as well.

Domestic Violence cases are serious cases, the intersection between the criminal and civil and school processes means that having an attorney on your side is more important than ever. If you or someone you know is going through a domestic violence situation, call the Criminal Defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.