What to Do if You Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence

Understand Your Rights

Facing accusations of domestic violence is a serious and sensitive matter that must be carefully tended to. In North Carolina, understanding your rights and taking the appropriate steps if accused of domestic violence is of the utmost importance. Here’s what to do if you have been accused of domestic violence. 

Stay Calm

The first and foremost step is to remain calm, composed, and collected. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions, but reacting impulsively can have unintended consequences. Composure will serve you well in both legal proceedings and personal relationships.

Understand the Allegations

Gain a clear understanding of the specific allegations against you. Domestic violence accusations can encompass a range of behaviors, including physical violence, emotional abuse, or harassment. Understanding the nature of the accusations is crucial for building an effective defense.

Consult with an Attorney

Seeking legal representation is paramount when facing domestic violence allegations. A skilled North Carolina attorney experienced in domestic violence cases can provide guidance, explain your rights, and help you navigate the legal process.

Know Your Rights

Understanding your rights is crucial during legal proceedings. This includes the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, and the right to a fair trial. Exercise these rights wisely to protect your interests.

Gather Evidence and Documentation

Collect any evidence or documentation that may support your defense. This may include text messages, emails, witness statements, or any other relevant material that can shed light on the circumstances surrounding the allegations.

Follow Court Orders

If a restraining order or other court orders are issued, it is imperative to adhere to them strictly. Violating court orders can have serious consequences and may negatively impact your case.

Avoid Contact with the Accuser

Refrain from any contact with the accuser during the legal proceedings. This includes avoiding in-person interactions, phone calls, or any form of communication that could be construed as harassment.

Participate in Legal Proceedings

Attend all scheduled court hearings and legal proceedings. Failure to appear can result in unfavorable outcomes. Your attorney will guide you on how to present your case effectively during these proceedings.

Consider Mediation or Counseling

Depending on the circumstances, mediation or counseling may be recommended. Participating voluntarily can demonstrate a commitment to resolving conflicts and may positively influence the court’s perception of your case.

Prepare for Trial

In the event that the case proceeds to trial, thorough preparation is essential. Work closely with your attorney to build a strong defense, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence that supports your side of the story.

Being accused of domestic violence is a complex and emotionally charged situation. By remaining composed, seeking legal representation, understanding your rights, and carefully following legal proceedings, you can get through this time. A skilled North Carolina attorney can be your advocate, providing the guidance and representation needed to address the allegations effectively and work towards a fair resolution.

The Attorneys at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Help Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence

If you have been accused of domestic violence, how you handle the situation can impact the outcome. Your best bet for handling it the right way is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will fight on your behalf. However, time is of the essence, which is why it’s best to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

What to Know About Protective Orders for Domestic Violence in NC

Domestic violence is never something to be taken lightly. This also includes being unfairly accused of domestic violence since such accusations can greatly impact the life of the accused. Not only can an accusation cause great damage to your reputation, but it can also lead to a domestic violence protective order (DVPO). Here’s what to know about DVPOs in North Carolina, how they work, and how you can avoid violating them. 

What is a DVPO?

A DVPO is a judicial order that restricts contact between people. Often DVPOs require the subject to avoid not only contacting the petitioner, but also avoiding being in the same location as them or their family. Each case is different and depends upon the facts and circumstances involved. 

Can an Emergency Order Be Filed?

When the individual involved is thought to pose an immediate threat, an ex parte or temporary protective order can be filed. This type of protective order will generally go into effect immediately or within the next 72 hours. While the individual accused isn’t required to appear for an ex parte or temporary order, he or she must be present for the final DVPO hearing, during which there will be an opportunity to defend against these serious accusations. 

An ex parte/temporary order only protects until the court hearing for the final order, which tends to run anywhere from 7-10 days. Once a final order has been issued, the protection can be good for up to one year, or two if approved for an extension. 

Always Follow the DVPO – Even if You Believe it Falsely Obtained

Even if you feel that the accusations against you are false, misleading, or lack any real truth, it is imperative that you follow the rules of the order in order to avoid getting yourself into serious legal trouble. Violating a DVPO is an extremely serious matter that can result in jail time. It’s best to address the order with the help of a qualified North Carolina criminal defense attorney.

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Had a Domestic Violence Protection Order Issued Against Them

If a domestic violence protective order has been issued against you and believe that you are innocent or that your rights have been violated, you may have options. You have the right to defend yourself. Your best bet of doing so successfully is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will fight on your behalf. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight this charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

A Lawyer Can Help Defend You Against Child Abuse Allegations in NC

Any allegations of child abuse should be taken extremely seriously. If you have been suspected of child abuse it can impact your life – whether or not you are charged, let alone convicted. This is because allegations of child abuse can negatively interfere with your ability to gain custody of your child in a divorce case, can ruin your reputation and that of your business, and can be exceedingly stressful, affecting your well-being. 

Avoid Speaking About Your Child Abuse Case

If you have been accused of child abuse, you should never speak about it with anyone – not even child protective services – without speaking with your attorney. A knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina family law attorney can collect and review evidence, conduct a separate investigation, and help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children via a strong defense. 

Fighting Charges of Child Abuse

Unfortunately, sometimes contentious divorces involve false allegations  — especially when minor children are involved. Not everyone who is accused of child abuse has laid a hand on his or her child. 

A qualified family law attorney can help work towards achieving a pre-trial dismissal or reduction of your charges. In some cases, he or she can even help you to obtain a plea agreement that would reduce the potential consequences of a conviction for child abuse. 

What Happens if Your Case Goes to Trial?

Should your case go to trial, a qualified litigator will be important for helping you to prepare. Since the prosecution will likely bring in medical experts to prove that you were abusive, it’s important that you understand the nature of the injuries that you are being accused of and possibly present your own medical expert for your defense. 

By working with the right attorney, you will be able to focus on the important issues and combat even the most difficult cases. 

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

A criminal conviction in North Carolina can have a very long-lasting impact on your life. Not only can it affect your ability to obtain or keep certain jobs, but also it can have a permanent impact on your reputation. Child abuse is a very serious crime that should be taken very seriously. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Can Domestic Violence Be Considered a Felony in NC?

Domestic violence is treated very seriously in North Carolina, as it is in every other state. Those charged and convicted of such behavior will receive consequences correlating to the classification of domestic violence: misdemeanor or felony. So how are these classifications identified?

Domestic violence includes physical or sexual violence, such as:

  • Pushing
  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Choking
  • Slapping
  • Hitting someone with an object
  • Throwing an object at someone
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault

Defendants of Domestic Violence

Crimes of domestic violence are those ordinarily considered assault, battery, or sex crimes when not involving anyone in the special class of defendants. To be considered domestic violence, certain select individuals must also be the ones to conduct this violent behavior. Such people include:

  • Boyfriends
  • Girlfriends
  • Fiancés
  • Spouses
  • Dates
  • Person who resides under the same roof as the victim
  • Person with whom the victim has a child
  • Person previously in a relationship with the victim (sometimes)
  • Person previously residing with the victim (sometimes)

Unfortunately, although domestic violence is very serious when it occurs, sometimes those accused of such actions must battle a system that treats them as guilty before any evidence has proven so. 

False Allegations

Unfortunately, individuals will sometimes report false allegations of domestic violence in order to gain favor in an ongoing, ugly divorce or custody battle. 

Arrests with Minimal or No Evidence

The good news is that law enforcement is very aware of domestic violence and what it means for the victims of such crimes. The bad news is that sometimes law enforcement agencies, in their effort to protect individuals from harm, may place a defendant under arrest without the proper evidence.

No Due Process

The fast pace with which many law enforcement agencies arrest those accused of domestic violence can turn their lives upside down. Often they are immediately put into jail or face protective orders, which prevent them from going home.

Determining Classification: Felony or Misdemeanor

Whether or not domestic violence is filed as a misdemeanor or a felony is the choice of the prosecutor on the case. This classification can make a significant difference on the level of punishment that the defendant receives if convicted. Misdemeanors usually result in a fine and up to twelve months in jail; Felonies generally carry higher fines and longer periods of time in jail.

Other punishments include mandatory attendance in anger management or domestic violence intervention programs as well as a specific amount of community service, payment of a fine, and abiding by a protective order. 

Factors for Classifying Domestic Violence

The prosecutor generally looks at several factors when determining the classification of the crime:

  • Severity of the injuries
  • Prior convictions of the defendant
  • Prior reported incidents of abuse of the victim by the defendant

Attorney Joel Hancock at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

Whether considered as a misdemeanor or a felony, a domestic violence conviction can have a severe and long-lasting impact on your life. From finding a place to live to securing a job position, it can prove very difficult with such a conviction on your record. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!