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Domestic Violence Cases: Criminal vs Civil Charges

When someone is charged with a domestic violence crime in North Carolina, there’s often a second component to it that is the civil side of it, so I’m going to talk about the make up of an average domestic violence case.

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Transcription of: Domestic Violence Cases: Criminal vs Civil Charges

When someone is charged with a domestic violence crime in North Carolina, there’s often a second component to it that is the civil side of it, so I’m going to talk about the make up of an average domestic violence case.

If someone is claiming that they were assaulted, say it was a female that claims she was assaulted by a male, that male can be charged with assault on a female, that’s a criminal charge. Often what happens is that female, that alleged victim seeks a protective order, so there’s a civil component to the charge so the person on the other side of things, the defendant has two cases: one is civil, and one is criminal.

Let me talk for a minute about the civil part first because that is the one that is most time sensitive. So, when an alleged victim makes the claim that they were assaulted and that they need protection, the judge can grant a court order that is temporary; it last for ten days and on the tenth day the two parties come back to court and have a hearing.

Now if that defendant is served, the one whose been accused, is served with a summons and he or she fails to come to court, the court will by default impose that restraining order against the person simply by assuming that they didn’t have any objection to it being imposed.

People don’t realize that that domestic violence protective order being imposed against you can have consequences that are unexpected; sometimes employers will terminate someone because they’ve got a domestic violence protective or they will uniquely affect a credit report, rental eligibility, all sorts of things, so though unlike a criminal conviction, it doesn’t add it to what we describe as in a background check, your criminal history, it can and often does, come into play in making an imprint on the records in your life.

When I do domestic violence cases, I find that the success is a result of basically rolling up my sleeves and digging in and going through all of the details to better understand the relationship, the nuances in the relationship and potentially the motive for the person who made the allegation…those diamonds that we find in the thousands of text messages or hundreds of emails that we go through are often the reason that we prevail.

In domestic violence cases, I expect a lot out of my clients; I need for them to be shoulder to shoulder with me, as invested as I am, to provide me with the details that I need in my arsenal so that we can win the case. When we face court later down the line in the criminal case, we often use what we learned in the civil side of things that civil domestic violence protective order hearing in the criminal case.

So, what we garner in that first phase, we then use in the second phase, so even though it may be overwhelming to have both a criminal charge and to be served a summons on a lawsuit, effectively, in the end, the two together allow for us to build a defense when it comes to the criminal case that is far stronger than if we would if we didn’t have that hearing that was so time sensitive and happened early on.

So, every time I take on a case, every detail will be covered, every stone will be unturned and, as long as my client is invested with me, we know that we go in more prepared than the other side, and that’s what makes the difference.

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