Domestic violence allegations are aggressively pursued in the North Carolina court system. District Attorneys aggressively prosecute domestic violence crimes, and Wake County devotes a whole court room and two prosecutors to misdemeanor domestic violence crimes alone. Individuals can bypass the criminal courts and file for restraining orders with allegations of domestic violence in the civil courts. Triangle Criminal Defense Group lawyers in Raleigh, NC have experience representing clients facing criminal and civil domestic violence allegations. We have defended our clients at trial, and we have negotiated favorably on their behalf.
Domestic violence crimes are those where the defendant and victim-witness have been in an intimate relationship. Once charges are filed or an arrest is made, the decision to prosecute rests with the District Attorney. It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to move forward even when the victim-witness wants charges dropped and is uncooperative. A conviction for domestic violence crimes can be costly and prohibitive on the accused’s life.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs or 50B orders for short) are civil actions in District Court for a restraining order between current or former spouses, persons of the opposite sex who have lived together, persons who have a parent-child or grandparent-grandchild relationship, persons with a child in common, current or former household members, or persons of the opposite sex who have had a dating relationship. The definition threshold for an act of domestic violence and the burden of proof are lower than in criminal court.
The initial ex parte DVPO is temporary, and the defendant in the action is entitled to a hearing before a permanent DVPO is entered against them. Permanent DVPOs last for a year, at which point the petitioner can seek to continue the DVPO for another year. During that time the Court may order a person out of their own house, order a person to have no contact with a significant other, and order a person to relinquish any firearms owned. Violations of the DVPO can quickly become grounds for felony charges.