Pittsboro Attorneys for Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders
If you live in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and you or your children have suffered violence or abuse at the hands of your spouse or intimate partner, you do not have to remain a victim.
You have rights under the law that are meant to protect you and your children. We can help you understand your options so that you can stop the pain and torment and live a life free from abuse. Often a criminal matter as well as a civil one, domestic violence can lead to the arrest and incarceration of your partner, but you can also seek protection through a restraining order.
For a full explanation of your rights and legal options for keeping you and your children safe, you can reach out to the attorneys at Marshall & Taylor PLLC for help.
Our compassionate and experienced Pittsboro family law attorneys will carefully review your matter and help you decide on the best course of action. We can help you obtain a restraining order and other legal protections, and we will be zealous advocates for you and your children throughout the process.
Contact us today at (919) 833-1040 to request a confidential consultation.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to any willful and harmful actions that one intimate partner perpetrates against the other. These can include:
- Physical assault and abuse
- Sexual assault and abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, around 33 percent of women in North Carolina and 25 percent of men will experience some sort of violence or abuse from an intimate relationship over the course of their lives. In addition, consider the following:
- Domestic violence was responsible for 63 homicides in North Carolina in 2021.
- Intimate partners account for more than 15 percent of all violent crimes committed.
- More than 72 percent of all murder-suicides were between intimate partners in 2021.
- The risk of homicide related to domestic violence increases by more than 500 percent if there is a firearm in the home.
- The overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims are female.
- From June 2020 to July 2021, 67,847 people received help with their domestic violence situations through either in-person or remote services.
- On any given day, domestic violence hotlines receive more than 21,000 calls from victims seeking help.
Aside from the victims, domestic abuse affects others, including the couple’s children, immediate and extended family members, and friends and coworkers. The overall effects can be far-reaching and greatly impact the lives of all involved.
Children, in particular, can suffer serious emotional and mental disorders from being exposed to domestic violence, even if they were not the victims of the violence or abuse themselves. Children who witness the abuse of their mother or father may require extensive treatment and counseling. Worse, a child may believe that violence is just a normal part of life, and this mentality can affect the way they treat their own partners or children in the future. It can also cause children to engage in risky and illegal behaviors themselves that can lead to legal trouble as well as a causing a threat to public safety.
Domestic Violence and the Law
Domestic violence situations differ from other family law issues because they involve both civil and criminal legal areas. While domestic violence itself is not an illegal offense per se, an alleged offender may be arrested, booked, and eventually convicted on a variety of criminal charges that can include the following and more:
- Simple assault
- Assault on a female
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault by strangulation
- Communicating threats
Under North Carolina state law, the state (or the county in which the offense occurred) is responsible for bringing charges against the alleged offender, not the victim. Therefore, the victim cannot go back and simply have the charges dropped because they forgave the person or had a change of heart.
The state enforces this requirement to help prevent subsequent occurrences of domestic violence that could result in the death of the victim. Sometimes, a victim may be able to sway a prosecutor not to press charges, but there is no guarantee.
By their nature, domestic violence situations usually have special circumstances that complicate the matter. The abuser is most often a member of the household and perhaps a parent to one or more children in the home. Because of this, a victim may be reluctant to have the offender arrested.
Domestic violence victims have an additional method for seeking protection from their abusers in the form of a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), most commonly known as a restraining order.
A restraining order is a civil order issued by the court that requires a person to stop causing harm to another person. Since it is civil in nature, you can use a restraining order to obtain protection instead of having your partner arrested. However, if you get a restraining order and your partner violates it, they will most certainly be arrested and formally charged.
You can request a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) if you feel your or your children’s safety is at risk, and a judge will issue a DVPO against the defendant if they intentionally:
- Cause or attempt to cause physical injury to you or your children
- Sexually assault you or your children
- Place you or your children in imminent fear for your life or safety
- Continually harass, stalk, or otherwise commit “at least two wrongful acts” against you that cause you “substantial emotional distress.”
Once the order is recorded with the court, the person you obtain the order against cannot call you or try to communicate with you, and they must stay a certain distance away from you, including in situations where you both must be in the same place.
You can obtain a temporary restraining order within 24 hours if you believe you are in immediate danger, and you do not have to notify the offender. The court will usually set a date that is within fifteen days of the incident so they can extend the order, and the order will be effective for one year. If you still need the protection order after that, you will then have to get an official extension from the court at the end of the first year.
Let Us Help
The lawyers of Marshall & Taylor PLLC make the safety and health of you and your children our top priority. We are ready to help you obtain the legal protections you need to help keep you safe from your abuser in Pittsboro. You can contact us today at (919) 833-1040 to request a confidential consultation.