Are stricter domestic violence laws coming to North Carolina?

Domestic violence is an issue that is taken seriously in most states. For people in New Hanover County, North Carolina, even an accusation of spousal abuse can have significant consequences. People who are actually convicted will have a permanent record and may be ordered to cease contact with their families.

Recent events in North Carolina have drawn even more attention to domestic violence. With reformers pushing for several changes to laws regarding the treatment of people charged with domestic violence, the consequences of an accusation or conviction could soon become even more severe.

Statistics and recent events

Earlier this year, CBS Charlotte reported that domestic violence deaths in North Carolina rose 15 percent in 2012. The article did not comment on the number of injuries or reported incidents. In September, however, domestic violence and homicide again came to the attention of the public when a Greensboro woman was killed.

The woman had tried to obtain a restraining order, but it was denied, according to a press release posted on Elon University's website. The woman's husband purchased a gun, and authorities later found both of them dead. In the wake of this tragedy and in light of the general trend of increasing domestic violence, numerous measures have been proposed. These changes could protect many people, but they will also have significant consequences for those accused or convicted of domestic violence.

Proposed reforms

According to the sources listed above, as well as the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the following changes have been proposed:

  • Tracking people found guilty of domestic violence with a GPS or other tracking device
  • Giving domestic violence victims access to records of pistol purchase and concealed carry permits
  • Mandating that a sheriff only issue a permit to someone involved in a domestic violence complaint 10 days after contacting the victim
  • Letting judges prohibit someone named in a domestic violence complaint from obtaining a gun for as long as a year

The tracking proposal is part of House Bill 477, which has already been passed by the House and awaits Senate review in 2014, according to the NCCADV. The changes to the gun laws are part of a proposal drafted by a Greensboro lawyer. The specifics of the proposal could change, but a bill with a similar aim may be introduced to the legislature in the future.

Potential changes ahead

The motivation behind these reforms is clear. However, critics are concerned that these changes could violate people's rights or have serious consequences for anyone wrongly accused of domestic violence. If the changes do go through, accusations of domestic violence will have even more serious consequences than they did before.

Seeking legal help when facing criminal charges has always been a smart decision because of the various possible consequences. Now, with potential legal changes leading to more restrictions and penalties ahead, qualified help is even more important for people facing domestic violence accusations.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, don't underestimate the seriousness of the issue. Talk to an experienced attorney to make sure that your rights are protected.