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Next steps after an arrest for domestic violence

Domestic violence arrests take place every day in the Charlotte, North Carolina, community and surrounding areas. There is no typical offender, and this type of arrest can touch families from all walks of life, including those who are middle to upper-middle class and affluent. While the causes are many and resolving the issue with treatment and prevention are important factors, if police arrest you on charges of domestic violence, your first concern is most likely regarding what you need to do next.

The criminal justice system is complex, and the laws on domestic violence in North Carolina are not easy for a layperson to understand or interpret. There are a few crucial next steps to take following a domestic violence arrest. 

1. Understand the charges against you

One of the first things you should do is to understand the charges as defined by the laws on what constitutes domestic violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon. Different factors in your particular case, such as whether there was a weapon involved or not, may change the charges and potential consequences. An attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases is a good place to start if you have questions about the charges against you and how they may affect you.

2. Understand the facts, not just the allegations

Sometimes people falsely accuse others of domestic violence. In a court of law, the most important factor is what actually happened, not what someone falsely alleges happened. There is too much at stake for you to take a risk of a judge convicting you for offenses that you did not actually commit. In cases where the allegations against you are false, it is important to have a strategic defense based on all the facts of the case. 

3. Follow any orders in place

If there are other orders in place that the court requires you to abide by, such as a Domestic Violence Protective Order, make sure that you do not violate the terms and conditions of these orders. There can be additional penalties if you do so. In addition, an order such as a DVPO can carry many restrictions other than simply preventing you from having contact with the victim, so it is important that you understand exactly what the order prohibits.

Some of the actions you take after a domestic violence arrest may have the potential to affect the outcome of your case. As such, it is crucial that you obtain legal advice and follow the steps your attorney outlines in order to give yourself the best possibility for a strong and successful defense in court.

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