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Domestic Violence Lawyer

Violent Crimes Topics

Every story has two sides. Unfortunately, in a domestic abuse claim, the accused’s side often gets lost. In the eyes of society, potential employers and even friends and family, you may be considered guilty of a violent crime, until proven innocent.

Being convicted of a violent crime never goes off your record. Because of this fact, it is very important to reach out to a Wilmington domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. At Goolsby Law Firm, we are dedicated to aggressively defending the rights of our clients and doing everything possible to get charges decreased or dropped.

To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call (910) 763-3339 or send a text at (910) 262-7401. Attorney Thom Goolsby will discuss your situation, explain your options and walk you through what comes next.

Domestic Violence in North Carolina

Under North Carolina law, there are no specific crimes based on your romantic or domestic relationship with someone. Because of this, there are several charges that can arise after a domestic violence arrest, such as simple assault or assault on a female.

Misdemeanor charges that commonly arise after a domestic dispute include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Assault of a child
  • Assault of a woman
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Communicating threats
  • Injury to a pregnant woman
  • Harassing phone calls
  • Stalking and cyberstalking

There are also several felony charges that may be filed after police respond to a domestic violence call, including sexual offenses and assault by strangulation.

Victims of domestic violence can seek a motion for emergency relief under Chapter 50B of North Carolina General Statutes. This filing initiates a civil action, not criminal charges, but can leave you with a domestic violence record. If an emergency order is issued, the accused must surrender all of their firearms.

What Happens During a Domestic Violence Case

After the police respond to a domestic violence call, if both parties are present, one person is usually arrested and removed from the premises. This action can occur even if both parties show signs of violence and appear to be aggressors. Police take such action to separate the individuals, give both time to calm down and figure out what happened.

If you are arrested, this means criminal charges are being filed against you. The State of North Carolina, not the alleged victim, is the moving party. The Office of the District Attorney will represent the alleged victim and an Assistant District Attorney will be assigned to prosecute you. The alleged victim may indicate that they want to press charges or even drop them. However, it is important to note that the final decision belongs to the prosecutor assigned to the matter.

In some situations, the prosecutor may opt to drop the case when they do not have the victim’s cooperation. Dismissal of charges does not always happen. In some circumstances, the prosecutor will move forward with a case against a victim’s wishes, particularly when there are other witnesses and evidence of the assault, the arresting officer pushes for prosecution and/or the accused made statements admitting to the crime.

When the prosecutor begins building a case, they may interview the alleged victim, speak to eyewitnesses and analyze police reports. Other sources of evidence include photographs of injuries, social media posts, voicemails, phone call logs, and text messages.

During the case, the accused may be required to stay away from the victim. Violating a protective order can cause further legal issues for the accused individual.

Depending on where the accused is charged, the severity of the charges and the prosecutor assigned to the case, a plea deal may be offered prior to trial.

Domestic Violence: NC Penalties & Consequences

Penalties vary widely across different types of charges, the accused’s history and the strength of the case. If someone is convicted of a misdemeanor, they may be ordered to spend up to 150 days in jail, attend anger management courses, pay fines, engage in community service, or pay restitution to the victim.

A felony conviction can yield more severe punishments. For example, being convicted of assault by strangulation leads to a maximum jail sentence of 39 months. Previous convictions can lead to longer sentences and higher fines.

In addition to the legal consequences of a domestic violence conviction, there are collateral consequences that follow a conviction. These include:

  • Loss of professional license or being barred from certain professionals
  • Inability to own any firearms
  • Loss of social status or social circle
  • Loss of custody or visitation rights
  • Loss of public benefits
  • Lack of higher education opportunities, as many places have admissions policies limiting acceptance of students with criminal and domestic violence histories
  • Loss of the right to travel and other freedoms if probation is required
  • Immigration challenges for non-citizens
  • Loss of home if the other party gets a protective order

Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

Many people, especially those who have never been accused of domestic abuse, believe they can talk their way out of a domestic violence conviction. Those who are innocent may think their innocence is the greatest defense and that the truth will come out.

Unfortunately, these people are often incorrect.

Prosecutors take domestic violence cases very seriously. They will create the strongest possible case against you. As part of their strategy, they will prepare for all possible defenses you may construct and attempt to preemptively disprove them.

With an experienced criminal defense attorney, you have a much better chance of having your charges decreased or dropped entirely. After exploring the details of your case, your attorney will look into a variety of defense options.

Defense strategies commonly used in domestic violence cases include:

  • Insufficient evidence. If the prosecution does not have enough evidence linking you to the crime or proving your guilt, your attorney may argue that the case has no merit.
  • Self-defense. This is relatively common in domestic violence cases. If the other party attacked you and you were forced to defend yourself, you may not be convicted. This defense may be an option if you have injuries caused by the incident.
  • False claims. In some cases, alleged victims falsely claim domestic violence to punish the accused, gain an advantage in a divorce or child support case or simply to take revenge. These motivations can be difficult to prove, but may provide an option to assist in your defense.

Contact a Wilmington Domestic Violence Lawyer

A domestic violence conviction can permanently limit your opportunities and change your life. You need to take swift action to protect yourself and your rights. At Goolsby Law Firm, we fight aggressively on behalf of each and every client.

Schedule your consultation now by calling (910) 763-3339. We offer free consultations and will be in touch as soon as possible. Attorney Thom Goolsby is here to listen and ready to help.


“I lost my carry concealed permit due to the misapplication of the law by law enforcement. My guns were taken from my home, and my permit was suspended. Thank you Thom Goolsby for standing up for the Second Amendment and my gun rights. You corrected the mistake of law enforcement, and I got my permit back. I appreciate your skill and advocacy.”

- Criminal Defense Client

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I am so happy I hired him. I was charged with drug and paraphernalia possession. As a college student, I could not have these convictions on my record. I am so thankful I had Senator Goolsby representing me. He went into court, worked out a wonderful solution, and my charges were dropped.

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    212 Walnut St. Suite 100
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