North Carolina Domestic Violence Laws – What You Must Know

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects people around the country. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), over 10 million people across the United States experience some form of domestic violence every year.

In North Carolina, residents are all too familiar with the threat of domestic violence, making hundreds of calls per day to hotlines and outreach centers. To combat these issues, North Carolina acted in 2019 to implement stricter laws against domestic violence and those who commit it.

Here’s what you should know about North Carolina domestic violence laws in 2023.

How Does North Carolina Law Define Domestic Violence and Personal Relationships?

Domestic violence is defined as when one individual intentionally harms or attempts to harm another person with whom they share a personal relationship. North Carolina law defines personal relationships as an intimate relationship between two people, such as a parent and child, current or former spouses, current or former couples, family members, other blood relatives, and roommates. For an assault to be considered domestic violence, it must occur between people who share one of these personal relationships.

Attempting to harm or intentionally harming an individual in your personal relationships isn’t the only form of domestic violence recognized by the state. North Carolina also classifies excessive harassment (putting a victim or their family members in constant fear that they will be harmed), causing extreme emotional distress, and all sexual abuse that occurs in personal relationships as domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Charges in North Carolina

Because domestic violence encompasses a wide range of different actions, there are multiple possible charges an individual convicted of domestic violence may receive:

Assault Charges

There are five main forms of assault recognized by North Carolina law:

  1. Simple Assault
    Simple assault is the most general assault charge and is used when an individual unlawfully attacks, harms, or attempts to hurt another individual. Even if the victim didn’t receive any physical injuries, an attempt to do so that puts them in fear is classified as a simple assault. Punching, hitting, kicking, and grabbing can all count as physical simple assault if the injuries aren’t too severe.
  2. Sexual Assault
    Sexual assault charges occur in domestic violence situations when an individual commits a sex crime against someone in one of their personal relationships. Any sex crime committed against a minor is classified as felony sexual assault and will result in severe penalties.
  3. Assault With a Deadly Weapon
    Assault with a deadly weapon can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the case. If the court can prove that the defendant had the intent to either kill or seriously harm their victim, they may be charged with assault with a deadly weapon as a felony. Deadly weapons include guns, knives, blunt objects, and more.
  4. Assault on a Female
    Assault on a female is a similar charge to simple assault but specifically applies to an assault on a woman by a male over the age of 18. Most commonly, these charges include assault, battery, or affray (making the victim fear for their well-being). Assault on a female can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.
  5. Assault by Strangulation
    Assault by strangulation is a felony crime in North Carolina. If the court proves that the defendant strangled their victim with the intent to seriously injure or kill them, they can receive severe consequences, including prison time. Assault by strangulation cannot be considered a misdemeanor.

Stalking Charges

Stalking is another common form of domestic violence. In North Carolina, over 35% of women and 30.3% of men have experienced some form of physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking from an intimate partner. Stalking is classified as the consistent following and harassment of an individual that puts them in excessive emotional distress due to their fear. This can also include cyberstalking.

Violation of a Protective Order

Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPOs) are legal court orders that require the person who has been charged with domestic assault to stay away from their victim. Each DVPO may lay out different requirements depending on the circumstances at hand. For example, some parents who have received a DVPO may not be allowed to go in the same room or anywhere near the child that they harmed. If an individual breaks a DVPO, penalties will be implemented immediately, and they will most likely face jail time.

FAQs About NC Domestic Violence Law

How Does Domestic Violence Work in North Carolina?

Domestic violence occurs when one person intentionally harms or attempts to harm another person with whom they have a personal relationship. This can happen between parents and children, spouses, and even former partners.

Can Charges of Assault on a Female Be Dropped in North Carolina?

Assault charges will only be dropped if enough evidence is provided to prove the defendant is not guilty.

Is Verbal Abuse a Crime in North Carolina?

Verbal abuse itself is not recognized as a crime in North Carolina, but varying forms of it are. For example, threatening someone, provoking violence, or using abusive language can be classified as illegal, depending on the circumstances.

What Is a DVPO in North Carolina?

A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) is a legally binding document that requires the person charged with domestic violence to stay away from the person they attacked.

North Carolina Domestic Violence Representation

Everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable in their own home. As long as domestic violence issues persist, finding assistance for you or a loved one to get out of your dangerous situation is critical. Here at Parsons Law, PA, our team of attorneys is dedicated to making our clients feel safe and supported, no matter what their situation may be. We have years of experience dealing with domestic violence issues and are here to support and guide you through the process of taking your life back again. To learn more about how we may be able to assist you, don’t hesitate to contact us today.