What are the punishments for an act of Domestic Violence or Violations of a Restraining Order?

Generally, if you are accused of committing an assault or act of violence in North Carolina the criminal statutes may apply regardless of the relationship a defendant may share with the alleged victim.  However, when a criminal offense fits within the definition of Domestic Violence, the law allows the judge with an opportunity to impose special sentencing conditions.

Misdemeanor criminal assaults range from Class 3 to Class A1 misdemeanor and can carry up to 150 days (5 months) in jail.  Felony criminal assaults can carry many more months in prison and a defendant found guilty of multiple prior acts of Domestic Violence may be subject to felony prosecution as opposed to a misdemeanor criminal offense.  In many instances, if a defendant commits a felony while subject to a DVPO that prohibits such act, the felony is punished as a felony one class higher than otherwise set by law.  In addition, an officer must arrest a defendant if the officer has reason to believe that the defendant violated a protective order term or condition.  Under this instance, contrary to the normal procedure, the law does not require that the officer first obtain an arrest warrant before making the arrest for a DVPO violation.

If a personal relationship is determined to exists, this determination is noted in the official record of the case so that any future inquiries into the defendant’s criminal record will show that the defendant had committed a prior crime involving Domestic Violence.  In addition, if you are found guilty of an act of Domestic Violence, the judge may impose special conditions upon a probationary sentence.  These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Requirement that the defendant undergo a medical or psychiatric treatment and remain in treatment if recommended;
  • Attend or reside in a facility that provides rehabilitation, counselling, treatment, training or residence for probationers;
  • Enroll and successfully complete a Drug Treatment Court Program;
  • Abstain from consuming any alcohol and submit to continuous alcohol monitoring; and
  • House arrest.

Violation of a DVPO/50B Protective Orders is a Class A1 Misdemeanor criminal offense.  This offense can carry a maximum punishment of up to 150 days (5 months) in jail if you are found guilty of this offense.