If you’re facing domestic violence charges in North Carolina, it’s essential to know what kind of penalties you may be facing. Depending on the severity of the abuse and the circumstances surrounding it, you could be looking at jail time, a restraining order, or other serious consequences. Learn what to expect for domestic violence jail time and what can happen if you’re convicted.

Domestic Abuse

A domestic violence charge in North Carolina can include everything from misdemeanor domestic battery to aggravated battery felony charges.

However, to be considered domestic violence, the person you face charges for hurting must be in a personal relationship with you. A dating relationship, a child or spouse, a parent of your child, or a household member all count as personal relationships.

Often, a spouse or partner will make domestic violence accusations and take out a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). You could face criminal charges if the spouse (the alleged victim) has proof of physical harm or threats.

Generally, when you face arrest for domestic violence charges, you’ll spend up to 48 hours in jail waiting for a judge to rule on your bond. After that, you’ll need to prepare for your DVPO hearing.

If you’re facing a criminal case, North Carolina criminal law does not treat spousal and child abuse lightly. So it makes sense to bring a criminal defense attorney on board to help you fight these charges!

If the court orders that you attend an abuser treatment program, you’ll need to begin regular attendance of the program within 60 days of the order. When ordering you to attend an abuser treatment program, the court also specifies a date and time for a review hearing with the court.

However, many domestic abuse cases involve criminal charges. With a felony conviction, you could spend years in prison. Finding legal assistance can help you see mitigating factors or law enforcement rights violations that could give you a lighter prison sentence or even dismissed charges!

Domestic Violence Jail Time

If convicted of domestic assault or other offenses, many factors play into your sentence length and potential penalties, including:

  • Criminal offense charges you face now
  • Prior conviction criminal history
  • Alcohol abuse history
  • Mitigating factors (favorable factors)
  • Aggravating factors (factors that make you look worse in the eyes of the law)
  • Your attorney’s defense strategy

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

Misdemeanor convictions generally don’t carry a hefty sentence in the state prison. However, an A1 misdemeanor carries the longest jail sentence for a misdemeanor at up to 150 days of prison time.

It’s an A1 misdemeanor offense to commit an assault or assault and battery, or use a deadly weapon to cause serious injury to a:

  • Female, if you’re a man
  • Children under the age of 12 years
  • Person you have a personal relationship with, where a child under 18 could see or hear

Other Class A1 Misdemeanors

  • Stalking
  • Sexual battery
  • Knowingly violating a valid protective order
  • Assaulting by pointing a gun

Many crimes that can send you to county jail for domestic violence can later bring domestic abuse penalties of prison time. However, felony domestic violence offenses can bring a maximum penalty of more than a year, even with a first offense.

Felony Domestic Violence

In general, if you commit a felony when you know that a restraining order prohibits the behavior, you are guilty of a felony one class higher than the felony you’re facing charges for.

Felony classes go from Class A crimes to Class I. But your sentence length relates to your prior criminal convictions with Levels 1-6. For example, a class B1, Level 6 would mean up to 483 months in prison! (1)

Below you can see crimes related to domestic violence and how long you can expect to spend doing time in prison. Without excellent criminal defense attorneys to help you, you don’t stand a chance in the system.

Class H Felony (4 -25 months)

  • Commits the offense of stalking when there is a court order in effect prohibiting it.
  • Enters property operated as a safe house or haven for victims of domestic violence, where someone protected under a DVPO or ex parte order lives
  • Violates protective order provisions regarding firearms
  • Knowingly violates a valid protective order after having been previously convicted of two prior offenses of violating a protective order
  • Assault inflicting serious bodily injury
  • Strangulation
  • Habitual misdemeanor assault
  • Discharge a firearm within an enclosure to incite fear

Class E Felony (15-63 months)

  • Sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian
  • Discharging certain barreled weapons or a firearm into an occupied structure
  • Discharging a firearm from within an enclosure
  • Malicious throwing of corrosive acid or alkali
  • Maliciously assaulting in a secret manner
  • Felonious assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflicting serious injury

Class D Felony (38-160 months)

  • Discharging certain barreled weapons or a firearm into an occupied vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance that is in operation

Class C Felony (44-182 months in prison)

  • Second-degree forcible rape
  • Statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger.
  • Statutory sexual offense with a person who is 15 years of age or younger
  • Second-degree forcible sexual offense
  • Discharging certain barreled weapons or a firearm into occupied property causing serious bodily harm
  • Mutilation, maiming, and castration

Class B1 Felony (144-483 months in prison)

  • First-degree forcible rape
  • First-degree statutory rape
  • Statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger.
  • First-degree forcible sexual offense
  • First-degree statutory sexual offense

Criminal records carry many consequences, not the least of which is prison time and a criminal record that can cause employers, creditors, and others to not look favorably on you.

Experienced Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Attorneys

We can help you find your way through the judicial system and defend yourself if you face accusations of domestic violence. You don’t have to go through this alone, and you shouldn’t.

The domestic violence lawyers at Cape Fear Law have successfully defended many clients against domestic violence charges in Wake County and throughout North Carolina. We tirelessly work to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.