Domestic Violence Lawyer in Smithfield, NC

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Many people caught in abusive relationships are so fearful and overwhelmed by their situation that they don’t realize the great lengths North Carolina’s domestic violence laws go to protect them. You do have rights to escape a violent atmosphere or to take legal action if you have other objectives.

Restraining orders, criminal charges, and formally presenting allegations in a child custody case are just a few of your options as someone who has suffered due to domestic violence.

The legal process and procedural rules can be daunting. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you may be equally intimidated by the prospect of defending yourself. Regardless of which side you’re on, you need a Smithfield domestic violence lawyer to help you navigate the process. Family law expert Jonathan Breeden is committed to assisting you with all aspects of these types of cases, and will take advantage of all legal tools available to help protect you and your family.

He represents men and women in various domestic violence matters, from advising you on obtaining a protective order to defending your interests at a hearing. To schedule a consultation regarding your case, contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 300-7290.

What rights do I have as a victim of domestic violence in North Carolina?

Domestic Violence Affects Entire Families

Domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms, and it knows no boundaries regarding economic background, race, age, or gender. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported some shocking statistics in its 2015 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, such as:

  • Around 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men surveyed said that they had been the victim of various forms of domestic violence, and they reported the incident to authorities.
  • For both men and women, the first encounter with personal domestic abuse affected their lives before they turned 25-years-old.

Though these numbers are only an estimate, they show how prevalent domestic violence is. In North Carolina, there must be some personal connection for an act of aggression to qualify as domestic violence. A Smithfield lawyer for domestic violence can explain how a personal relationship may exist between:

  • Married or former spouses
  • Members of the opposite sex who co-habitate or are involved in a dating relationship
  • Parents and children, and grandparents and grandchildren
  • A person who holds out as being the parent of a minor child
  • Two people that have a child together
  • Individuals of the opposite sex who are involved in a dating relationship

Unfortunately, domestic violence tends to arise in hotly-contested legal issues, including divorce or child custody. An offender may become enraged about the proceedings and lash out, but domestic violence accusations can be just as damaging if they’re based upon false pretenses or dishonesty. The accuser assumes there is an advantage to distorting the truth, without understanding how deception can impact the other person.

Domestic Violence in Johnston County

North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) § 50B, protects domestic violence victims, so you do have options to ensure your safety and that of your family. Though you should trust a local domestic violence attorney in Johnston County to manage the legal process, it’s important to recognize what actions are considered domestic violence. When individuals are involved in a personal relationship as described above, acts of abuse may include:

  • Willfully causing bodily injury
  • Threats or attempts intended to instill fear of serious bodily injury
  • Rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery
  • Harassment that tends to provoke fear of violence

Unfortunately, some victims don’t recognize the indications of domestic violence because they’re rather close to the abuser. Warning signs of abuse include:

  • Coercion or threats in sexual settings
  • Extreme jealousy and resentment
  • Controlling behavior
  • Verbal abuse and insults
  • Placing blame on you or saying you deserve abuse
  • Many other scenarios

Legal Remedies for Victims of Domestic Abuse

North Carolina’s laws on domestic violence are harsh on offenders, providing multiple legal options for protection. Depending on your circumstances, you should talk to a domestic violence abuse attorney about the two primary types of proceedings in court:

Ex-Parte Orders

This may be an appropriate legal route when you need powerful, emergency protection against an abuser. These orders are temporary. There is no notice required, and the accused won’t have the chance to appear in court, so you can feel at ease with your domestic violence attorney at your side.

50B Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO)

Through requesting a DVPO, you can protect yourself and other family members for a longer time. There will be a full hearing that’s similar to a trial, so your abuser will appear in court. A Smithfield domestic violence lawyer will do everything possible to alleviate your fears about confronting the individual, even arranging for a court companion to offer support.

How to Get a Protective Order in Johnston County

First, the person requesting a domestic violence protective order must fill out the DVPO paperwork and file it with the clerk of court. A judge then holds an “ex parte hearing.” This is a brief conversation without the other party involved, where the judge will ask what acts of domestic violence the defendant committed.

If the judge finds that the other party committed domestic violence, the judge will grant the DVPO, which will last until the next hearing and include provisions that prohibit contact between the parties involved.

Next, the Johnston County Sheriff will serve the other party by delivering a copy of the complaint and the protective order. The case can move forward to the formal hearing, where both parties can state their case, show evidence, and if necessary extend the DVPO for a year.

The Other Side of Domestic Violence

Under state law, violence or threats to another individual in a personal relationship are viewed as more serious than violence against a stranger. When domestic abuse occurs between parties dealing with a divorce or child custody case, there may be various adverse consequences for the person accused.

Domestic Violence Charges and Sentencing

Criminal charges can arise in abuse cases, as violent attacks are considered crimes. Domestic abuse may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of your case.

A person convicted of a misdemeanor may face some jail time, fines, probation, and required counseling. Penalties for a felony are more severe, including extended periods of incarceration (in prison), higher fines, and potential registration as a sex offender.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody

A conviction for domestic violence can affect divorce and child custody proceedings. In connection with weighing children’s best interests, Johnston County judges consider domestic violence accusations while making decisions regarding child custody. You may be denied all custody rights or only granted limited, supervised visitation with your own children if you are accused of abusive acts.

Domestic violence allegations are serious and should not be taken lightly. The challenge for some individuals accused of abuse is that domestic violence charges may stem from exaggerated, misleading, or entirely false claims. In such situations, the involvement of lawyers for domestic violence is critical.

How A Lawyer for Domestic Violence Can Help

Domestic violence has significant consequences for everyone involved, but you do not have to address an abusive situation alone. With assistance from a domestic violence attorney, you can learn more about options to protect yourself and use North Carolina’s laws to your advantage. Likewise, the need for a lawyer is important if you find yourself on the other end of accusations.

By working with a domestic violence law firm in Smithfield, NC, you can deal with your situation effectively and protect yourself. An attorney can help you navigate the local courts in Johnston County to quickly secure a protective order, obtain custody of your children, and put a plan in place to file for divorce.

An experienced domestic violence attorney will be your best advocate in and out of court, so you get and complete the documents you need, and deal with the other party throughout the legal process.

Contact Breeden Law Office

Attorney Jonathan Breeden has represented individuals and families involved in domestic violence situations for years. He has extensive experience advocating for victims, helping them obtain restraining orders, and supporting them with other aspects of a domestic violence case. At the same time, he understands the grave situation you face if you’ve been accused of abuse.

If you’d like more information or have questions about your circumstances, please contact Breeden Law Office. You can reach our office to schedule a consultation with a Smithfield domestic violence lawyer by calling (919) 300-7290, or visiting us online.

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