Domestic violence is a serious crime, and it, unfortunately, can even lead to the end of one’s life. In 2020, domestic violence-related homicides rose by 24.1% from 2019.
Obviously, not all domestic violence cases end in murder. But, it can be a serious crime, and a domestic violence charge will likely come out of it.
So, how is this classified? And, what are the penalties for criminal domestic violence in North Carolina?
This is your guide.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Before understanding the charges for this, you need to know what legally qualifies as domestic violence. In North Carolina it can be one of the following ways:
- Attempting bodily harm to someone in your household
- Provoking fear of bodily harm to someone in your household
- Causing bodily harm to someone in your household
- Using a deadly weapon against someone in your household
Technically, the term is a “personal relationship” but that mainly means someone that lives in your home with you. In North Carolina, that is one of the following:
- current or former spouses
- people of the opposite sex who live together
- related as parents, children, or grandparents
- sharing a child
- people of the opposite sex in an ongoing romantic relationship
As you can see, various factors can lead to a case being considered domestic violence. But, the general idea is that if you live together, have a romantic relationship, or are related as parents and children, any violence between the parties can fall into this category.
Domestic Violence Charge
A domestic violence charge can be split into several classes depending on the extent of the violence. The following classes can apply to this type of violence:
Class 2 Misdemeanor
In North Carolina, this is considered a simple assault and battery. It can also be first-degree trespass, disorderly conduct, or using threatening language.
If arrested and convicted, you can face a maximum of 60 days in jail and a suggested bond ranging between $200-500.
So let’s say that you recorded your partner using threatening language on the phone, saying that they were going to hurt you or your child. You could turn that over to the police and they can then face these penalties.
Class A1 Misdemeanor
This class is for if you commit violence against a certain group of people. For domestic violence, there is a very good chance that it can fall into this category, because male violence against a female and children under 12 years old are put into this class.
An example would be if you openly gave your partner or child a black eye or broke their arm, that would fall under this category.
Other things that can make the violence Class A1 are if you cause serious injury, if you use a deadly weapon, and if you point a gun.
For this, the maximum jail time is 150 days. As for a suggested bail bond, that can be $500-1,500.
Class E Felony
Now, the violence has gotten serious enough where it can be considered a felony. The difference between this and a misdemeanor is discharging a weapon, sexual activity by a substitute parent, assault with a deadly weapon, and second-degree kidnapping.
The difference here is not restraining someone or holding them hostage or for ransom. So, it would be second-degree if one parent without custody rights of a child took that child away from the primary guardian.
Or, a simpler example would be firing a gun but not causing an injury with that gun.
The maximum jail time here increases to 88 months (7 years, 4 months) and the suggested bail bond will range between $40,000-60,000.
Class C Felony
Besides assault with a deadly weapon, Class C Felonies are more serious because they usually involve second-degree forcible rape, a second-degree sexual offense, or first-degree kidnapping.
For kidnapping, this would be holding someone in your household hostage, or for ransom, if say, you wanted someone else close to them to pay for their safe release.
As for second-degree rape, the main difference between that and first-degree is not using a deadly weapon to do it.
Here, the maximum jail time is 231 months (19 years, 3 months) and the suggested bail bond is $75,000-150,000.
Class B1 Felony
In North Carolina, this class has charges like first-degree forcible and statutory rape, first-degree sexual offense, and second-degree murder.
Statutory rape would mean an adult having sex with a minor, whether it was forced or not. First-degree rape is when you not only force someone to have sex but also use a deadly weapon to do so and threaten violence if there is no compliance.
For these charges, the maximum jail time is life in prison without parole. The suggested bail bond is high, ranging from $250,000 to $1,000,000.
Class A Felony
This is simply first-degree murder. The maximum penalty is either death or life in prison without parole. There is no bail for this type of charge.
More domestic violence crimes may fall under this category than you think. In 2018, 40% of female homicide victims in North Carolina were caused by an intimate partner.
What Can You Do?
The best solution would be to contact an attorney as soon as possible and say as little as possible while you are detained.
Also, you are going to need to get in touch with a loved one or a close friend that you trust. This not only allows you to have someone to rely on but also someone that can help you arrange a bond from the outside.
Get the Help You Need
If you are arrested and are facing a domestic violence charge, you may not have the money necessary to get yourself out of jail right away. Luckily, we can help.
Contact us in order to start the process of getting a bail bond today.