Domestic Violence Lawyer in Charlotte NC
What is “Domestic Violence” in North Carolina? Are they criminal charges handled in criminal court, or in civil court? What is a DVPO? Is it different than a “50B Order?” If you’ve Googled, “Should I get a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Charlotte NC” we believe the answer is YES.
For the record, when it comes to allegations of criminal charges in Charlotte NC, either misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s a good idea to seek legal representation without delay. Not only is it important to get good legal advice from an experienced defense lawyer, but also it’s important to get that legal advice early on.
“At our law firm, we’re firm believers in the idea that good decisions are made if you have good information. We like to jump in, as soon as possible, as defense lawyers. That allows for us to gather and preserve evidence that may be helpful to our clients.” Bill Powers, NBTA Board-Certified Criminal Defense Attorney
We believe it’s a good idea to seek legal advice for “Domestic Violence” because those types of legal issues often involve interaction with both criminal court and civil court. While domestic violence charges in Charlotte NC may result in assault and battery, Assault of Female, communicating threats or other felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in North Carolina criminal court, they also can involve a Petition for Domestic Violence Restraining Order or DVPO in civil court.
Family law attorneys and Domestic Violence Lawyers in Charlotte NC may refer to the DVPO as a “50B Order” or “50B Restraining Order.” That’s because the statutory provisions of the NC civil laws are under North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) “Chapter 50B Domestic Violence.” As a contrast, divorce cases in North Carolina are handled under the NC family laws pursuant to N.C.G.S. “Chapter 50 Divorce and Alimony.”
As such, if you’re looking for a Domestic Violence lawyer in Charlotte NC, it helps to retain a lawyer who provides legal representation for, and therefore is experienced with, both criminal charges in criminal court and civil complaints in civil court. Indeed, violations of a valid 50B Order in North Carolina (DVPO) provide the opportunity for new criminal charges under § 50B-4.1. Violation of valid protective order.
But, a 50B Restraining Order is a civil ruling by the Judge. Violating a court order can subject a person to contempt proceedings for Willful Violation of a Court Order. Family law attorneys may refer to that as a “Show Cause” or an “Order to Show Cause.” There are potential Double Jeopardy issues affecting where, when, and how violations of valid 50B Orders are addressed. It’s yet another reason why you should retain legal representation for allegations of domestic violence.
As stated, DVPO “Restraining Orders” are filed and handled in civil court. In Charlotte NC, it can get a bit confusing, because many hearings on ex parte 50B Orders are handled on the 4th Floor of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Defense lawyers familiar with criminal charges in Charlotte NC know the 4th Floor is the location of the trial courts (District Court) for allegations of misdemeanor criminal charges in Mecklenburg County including Injury to Personal Property, Communicating Threats, and Assault on Female.
“It’s more than symbolic. It’s very easy to forget you’re not in criminal court. As a Domestic Violence lawyer in Charlotte NC, I am ever-vigilant to remind everyone in the system there are differences between civil court and criminal court. I often say something to the effect, ‘I know we’re on the 4th Floor, that’s where we handle criminal charges. But this is civil court, with the Civil Rules of Procedure, and civil standards of proof and burdens of production.’” Bill Powers, Domestic Violence – Family Law Attorney Charlotte NC
One of those important Rules of Civil Procedure in North Carolina involves proper Service of Process and Personal Jurisdiction by the District Court Judge over the person accused of acts of domestic violence. That means the Respondent to a petition for Domestic Violence Protective Order must be properly served with the “complaint.” It also means the Court must possess the lawful authority to enter a Judgment or protective relief against the person defending against the civil filing.
That is different than criminal court and criminal charges, and it doesn’t make a difference if they’re felony or misdemeanor charges. “Personal jurisdiction” over the person accused of assault charges or a battery is handled using a different framework. Under the NC Criminal Laws, the State has the Burden of Proof to show the criminal acts took place in the jurisdiction (showing the Court has jurisdiction over the matter and criminal charges).
The Prosecutor (the ADA Assistant District Attorney) also must prove the identity of the person accused of criminal charges (both for misdemeanor or felony charges), that the accused committed the criminal acts, and that they took place in Mecklenburg County (for Charlotte criminal charges or other criminal charges in Mecklenburg County including the towns of Pineville, Matthews, Davidson, Huntersville, Cornelius NC, etc., that are part of the 26th Judicial District).
With regard to CIVIL COURT and the 50B Order, District Court Judges must:
- Comply with Due Process under the NC Constitution & US Constitution
- Comply with the North Carolina Long Arm Statute for Civil Court Personal Jurisdiction
Because of their potential impact on child custody issues in Charlotte NC (and throughout North Carolina), the ability to join the military, or find and keep a good job, in regards to the rules regarding a Domestic Violence Protective Order in North Carolina (DVPO), the North Carolina Court of Appeals has stated, “[T]he issuance of a domestic violence protective order implicates substantial rights of a defendant.”
As such, the Plaintiff carries the Burden of Proof, using the standard of proof in civil court, and must prove personal jurisdiction over the Respondent (the Defendant) for DVPO in North Carolina. That also ``means the Court is required to enforce and follow the traditional ideas of “substantial justice” and “fair play.”
If you have questions about a pending allegation of domestic violence, call a Domestic Violence Lawyer Charlotte NC immediately. Hearing dates for civil court 50B Orders are normally set very quickly. If a loved one is locked up (jail or prison), it’s important to confirm personal service of process and to determine whether they accept service and/or wish to be present for the hearing on the Ex Parte complaint for Domestic Violence Restraining Order under N.C.G.S. 50B or other emergency motion pursuant to Chapter 50 of the NC Family Laws.