In North Carolina, domestic violence is considered to be a very serious offense. If convicted of this crime a person faces a wide range of penalties, including jail time, fines, and even mandatory psychiatric evaluations. The North Carolina General Assembly explains what constitutes domestic violence, as well as what penalties a person can expect if convicted of this crime.
In order for an incident to be considered domestic violence, the victim and the perpetrator must have a specific type of relationship. Along with current and ex-spouses, this can also include parents/grandparents and children, a person you live with, a person you’re dating or have dated in the past, or a person acting as a parent or guardian. People living in the same household as you can also be involved in domestic incidents, despite your relationship.
While often physical, domestic violence can also have a mental and emotional aspect. In this case, any activities that elicit fear in others or causes lasting emotional trauma could be sufficient for securing a conviction. In terms of prohibited actions, bodily harm, sexual assault and rape, and harassment can all be construed as domestic violence.
Victims of domestic violence can file a protective order, which maintains that the perpetrator must keep a specific distance from the victim for a period of time. While this is a civil protection, there are also criminal penalties that may be applied, and these vary depending on whether the crime is considered a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction usually entails fines, attendance of community service, and no more than 150 days in jail. Incidences that involve rape/sexual assaults and strangulation are considered felony offenses and are punished accordingly.