A domestic violence offense in North Carolina is not a separate crime from a “normal” criminal offense, but instead refers to a crime committed by one person against another with whom they have a “personal relationship.” So while the crime may be the same, a different set of criminal procedures will apply because of the label that the crime is “domestic violence”. A personal relationship includes current or former spouses, parents and children, persons living together or former household members, persons in a dating relationship, and persons who have a child in common.
Domestic violence crimes are treated differently for a number of reasons. Often the causes of domestic violence are different then with other types of offenses, and domestic violence tends to be cyclical in nature. Often the domestic violence incident that appears in court is just one symptom of a larger set of problems within that personal relationship. And often a criminal domestic violence charge is only one of several related court cases such as a separation or divorce, child custody, or a restraining order. Domestic violence is a very real problem in North Carolina and throughout the United States, but it is also true that individuals may often use the domestic violence laws as leverage in a custody or divorce case or out of revenge. If you have been charged with domestic violence, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Welch and Avery, LLP immediately. Your freedom as well as your future is at risk if you are convicted of this serious criminal charge.
Automatic Jail Time for a Domestic Violence Charge
Once a warrant has been issued for a domestic violence charge there are certain judicial processes that are automatically triggered at that point. It is a common belief that anybody charged with a domestic violence offense must go to jail for 48 hours as soon as they are arrested, but actually this is a misconception. However, it is entirely possible for a person to spend a full 48 hours in custody when they are arrested for this type of crime, so if you or a friend or family member suspect that they are about to be arrested under these circumstances they should speak with a criminal defense lawyer immediately!
When a person is charged with a crime under normal circumstances they are taken before a magistrate judge immediately to determine the conditions under which they may be released from custody pending their court date. Usually this means the magistrate will set a bond that must be posted to get out of jail. But when a person is charged with domestic violence, the law does not permit a magistrate to set a bond for the first 48 hours. However a district court judge may set a bond sooner than that, and a defendant must be brought for a bond hearing in front of such a judge as soon as possible.
So if a person is arrested for domestic violence in the middle of the night, they would have a bond hearing the next day of court. If the next court session is not for a day or so (for example if they were arrested on a Saturday), they would stay in custody without a bond until court was held. If 48 hours passes before there is a district court then the magistrate will then be permitted to set a bond to allow the defendant’s release from jail. The result of these rules is that the amount of time a person potentially spends in jail depends very much on timing.
Your Bond Hearing and Trial
When you are brought before a judge for a bond hearing, you should refrain from the natural desire to tell your side of the story. The judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence at the bond hearing. The judge simply wants to hear why you can be trusted to stay away from your accuser and why you can be trusted to come back to court if you are released. Remember, anything you say at this bond hearing can be held against you later in the case.
It is extremely important that you hire an experienced domestic violence attorney as soon as possible to represent you and to protect your rights. A conviction for domestic violence may prevent you from possessing a firearm in the future. If you are serving in the military, this could end your career. Other possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction include additional jail time, fines, probation and mandatory treatment programs. Do not leave your future to chance, contact our office today to discuss defense strategies to fight your domestic violence charge.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
Welch and Avery, LLP is a full service Jacksonville Criminal and Civil law firm that is committed to providing results-driven legal representation to businesses and individuals seeking an alternative to large-firm representation. We focus on getting you the results you want while offering you a cost-effective solution to your legal needs. We understand that we work for our clients; therefore; our attorneys communicate regularly with each client to ensure that the client knows what is going on with the case.
When you have legal problems, you need an experienced legal professional in your corner. No matter the case, you should have an attorney working for you who knows the law and who has the experience to get results. We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 347-0161 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.
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