What is considered Domestic Violence? How is Domestic Violence defined in North Carolina?
The State of North Carolina defines Domestic Violence by statute in § 50B-1. Domestic violence means the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship, but does not include acts of self-defense.
These acts are set by statute:
1. Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury
2. Placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in G.S. 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress.
3. Committing any act defined in G.S. 14-27.2 through G.S. 14-27.7.
a. § 14 27.2. First degree rape.
b. § 14 27.3. Second degree rape.
c. § 14 27.4. First degree sexual offense.
d. § 14 27.5. Second degree sexual offense.
e. § 14 27.6: Repealed by Session Laws 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 71(3).
f. § 14 27.7. Intercourse and sexual offenses with certain victims; consent no defense.
What does a “personal relationship” mean in Domestic Violence cases?
1. Current or former spouses
2. Persons of opposite sex who live together or have at some time lived together
3. Related as parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren and other parental relationships.
4. A man and woman who have a child in common
5. Current or former household members
6. Persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship. The dating relationship has to be romantic in nature and more than just friends or casual acquaintances.
The large majority of criminal domestic cases in Wake County involve assault(s) between a man and woman who have a sexual relationship and live together. These include Simple Assault, Assault on a Female, Assault by Strangulation and various Sexual Assaults. Domestic violence or DV cases in Wake County are taken very seriously by police, magistrates, defense attorneys and district attorneys because of the potentially dangerous nature of the situation.
Are gay or lesbian couples subject to Domestic Violence charges?
Yes, in the sense they can be charged with assaulting each other, but North Carolina does not place the “48 Hold” for domestic violence arrests on gay or lesbian couples. That means that they can be charged with the same crimes as heterosexual couples, such as assault and battery, but they will not be subject to the pre-trail release condition of bond only being issued by a district court judge. If someone in a gay or lesbian relationship is charge with a Domestic Violence related crime a Magistrate will set their bond or other pre-trial release conditions.
Do I need a lawyer to get a protective order? Should I get an attorney if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?
By statue you may file for a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order without a lawyer. This is considered acting Pro Se or representing yourself. In all legal matters you always have the option of representing yourself, but it may be in your best interest to contact a lawyer who handles domestic violence cases. They will be able to provide vital insight and guide you through the process while protecting your rights. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney for domestic civil matters you should contact Legal Aid of North Carolina or other non-profit groups like Interact. They provide extremely valuable services to individuals in domestic violence situations.
Contact info for free legal services in Wake County for Domestic Violence:
Interact of Wake County
1012 Oberlin Road Raleigh, NC 27605
Legal Aid of North Carolina
224 South Dawson Street Raleigh, NC 27601-1306
Can I get a PJC expunged off my criminal record?
Many people throughout North Carolina (including many of my own clients) have used a PJC as a way to dispose of criminal or traffic charges. A PJC stands for Prayer for Judgment Continued and is used by the North Carolina Courts as a way for someone charged with a crime to plead guilty but have the court withhold entry of a judgment. In effect it limits the penalty for the guilty plea to just court cost. No other fine or jail is imposed (Though some judges may issue certain requirements to grant a PJC). It is important to note that a PJC is treated by the court system like a conviction and it may not be the best legal option for your particular case. It is always best to consult with a North Carolina criminal lawyer to review your case and explain all of your options.
But what if you want to get that charge expunged off your record later? Can you expunge a PJC in North Carolina?
This question is actually very divisive in the North Carolina legal community and receives mixed answers depending on who you ask. As an expungement lawyer in Raleigh, I believe that a person can and should be able to receive an expungement under the North Carolina General Statute 15A-145. This statute covers expungements for persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor as a first offender and under the age of 18. While the statute does not specifically have any mention of a PJC, the argument hinges on the fact that the North Carolina Court System treats a PJC like a conviction for most purposes and that should also include expungements.
But is a PJC a conviction?
As the court stated in State v. Mcgee, 175 N.C. App. 586 (2006) “Under the traditional definition, “Conviction” refers to the jury’s or fact finder’s guilty verdict.” And a PJC can only be granted after the Judge establishes the defendant’s guilt. So, since the court treats a PJC just like a conviction, a person should be able to obtain an expungement under the statute dealing with expunction of a conviction.
So, the next step for someone who has received a PJC and would like it expunged off their record is to talk to an expungement attorney who can tell if you qualify for an expungement in NC.
If you need to have your criminal record cleaned and get an expungement, contact an NC Expungement Lawyer. The Gurney Law Firm handles all types of expungements in North Carolina. Contact an Expungement lawyer by calling (919) 930-4027. The Gurney Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm in Raleigh, NC and serves all of Wake County and Durham County. This includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Wake forest, Zebulon and Fuquay-Varina.
Speeding Ticket Quotas in North Carolina… G.S. 20-187.3?
After receiving a speeding ticket in Raleigh, a woman wondered to herself, “Why didn’t the officer just cut her a break and give her a warning? Why did the officer feel he needed to give her a speeding ticket? Do police officers in Wake County have a certain quota of tickets they have to give out each month? ”
A recent posting on the UNC School of government took a look at the legality of quotas of this kind and concluded that “the use of quotas for officers doesn’t seem to be widespread.” Also, a poll conducted by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) showed that police seem not to use speeding ticket quotas.
In some states they have specific statutes that outlaw the use of traffic ticket quotas and other quotas for criminal charges. North Carolina does not have a general anti-quota statute. However, there is a North Carolina General Statute that does specifically prohibit the North Carolina State Highway Patrol
for using speeding ticket quotas. It can be found at G.S. 20-187.3 and it provides that “[t]he Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety shall not make or permit to be made any order, rule, or regulation requiring the issuance of any minimum number of traffic citations, or ticket quotas, by any member or members of the State Highway Patrol. Pay and promotions of members of the Highway Patrol shall be based on their overall job performance and not on the basis of the volume of citations issued or arrests made.”
After talking to police offers in Raleigh and Wake County I feel that the general use of quotas are not being used.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a Wake County Speeding ticket or a Raleigh traffic ticket I urge you to call The Gurney Law Firm at (919) 930-4027. Mr. Gurney is a Raleigh criminal defense lawyer. The Gurney Law Firm serves all of Wake County including Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Cary, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Zebulon, Holly Springs, Garner, Morrisville, Wendell, Knightdale and Fuquay-Varina.
Death Penalty Losing Support?
A new Gallup Poll shows that support for using the death penalty in cases of murder is down to 61%. That is a 3% drop in support from last year. The poll shows this is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia.
Support rose to its highest levels from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, including the all-time high of 80% who favored the death penalty in 1994. But since that high there has been a marked decline of 19% over the past 17 years, and a 3-point drop from last year’s measure.
Gallup reports “The Oct. 6-9 poll was conducted shortly after the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia, which generated widespread protests and extensive news coverage. This could help explain the slight drop in support for the death penalty this year. However, there have been high-profile executions in the news in previous years without concomitant drops in death penalty support, making it less clear that such events have a direct impact on attitudes.”
The poll also shows that people in the South and Mid-West support the death penalty more than in the rest of the country.
If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina I urge you to contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Gurney at (919) 930-4027.