Assault and Battery


Assault and battery are not interchangeable. There are a lot of things that most people do not understand about criminal law until they get charged with a crime, including the differences between some closely related offenses. There are many incidents in which a defendant gets charged with assault and also with battery, but the terms “assault” and “battery” are not the same. Assault is any action that causes the victim to feel a reasonable fear of imminent physical harm, such as brandishing your fist in front of the victim’s face. You can be convicted of assault even if you do not make physical contact with the victim. Battery is any hostile touching of another person, such as punching or slapping, whether it causes a visible injury or not.

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Why is My Driver’s License Suspended


According to the North Carolina legislature, possessing a driver’s license in this state is considered a privilege, not a right. Because of this, there are many different ways in which to have this have that privilege temporarily suspended, or lost altogether. The most common ways that this occurs can be boiled down to three basic scenarios:

  1. You are convicted of certain traffic offenses. Some convictions create an automatic suspension (accumulating too many points on your driver’s license; speeding 15 mph over the limit if you’re going more than 55 mph; or speeding more than 80 mph over the posted speed limit). Other convictions give the Department of Motor Vehicles the option of suspending your license (such as being convicted of reckless driving and speeding over 55 mph within the same year).
  2. Getting a Failure to Appear (“FTA”) in court.
  3. You are convicted of (or in some instances, simply charged with) an impaired driving offense. If you refuse to give a breath sample during a DWI investigation, have a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of at least .08% or more, or a BAC of .04% while driving a commercial vehicle, your license is automatically revoked and suspended for 30 days If you are convicted of a DWI (whether by pleading guilty or after a trial), your license will be suspended for a year. Having multiple DWI convictions will also lead to longer suspensions or even a permanent suspension.

If your license is suspended for the first or second categories above, and you are pulled over while driving during that period of suspension, you will most likely be charged with Driving While License Revoked (“DWLR”). This is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina.

If, however, you are suspended under category three above and are caught driving, you will be charged with Driving While Revoked for an Impaired Revocation, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious class of misdemeanors in North Carolina.

The most important takeaway is this, regardless of the type of suspension you may be facing: it is absolutely critical that you consult with an attorney in any of the above situations instead of simply going online and paying off your ticket. Many people do not realize this, but doing so is admitting that you are guilty. Consult with an attorney experienced in handling such matters as soon as possible to protect your license.

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Taking The Concern Of Money And Property Out Of Your Marriage: Why You Should Consider A Pre-NUP And Post-NUP Agreement


Taking the Concern of Money and Property out of your Marriage: Why you should consider a Pre-nup and Post-nup Agreement
APRIL 7, 2021

You have found the love of your life and are planning your marriage (or you are currently married to the love of your life – congratulations – in which case you may need a post-nuptial agreement as described below). While you plan for your life ahead, including the wedding, you might be thinking about all the “stuff” you both have and how you would like to protect it … just in case. That’s what a pre-nup agreement does, right?

Most people believe that a pre-nup agreement is a way to “protect” what they currently have now. And couples who are wealthy are the only ones who need one. No need for regular people to get a pre-nup.

It is true that your pre-nuptial agreement can designate what happens to the property each of you brings into the marriage. These are usually referred to as “Simple” prenups – where individuals want to treat what they own prior to marriage as separate property and then anything that happens during the marriage is marital property or separate property. This is a simple agreement because the agreement clearly delineates that and then you are pretty much done.

However, you might be surprised to learn that “prenuptial” agreements can dictate what will happen with property acquired during the marriage and how that property acquired during the marriage will be handled in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements also allow you and your spouse to come up with other agreements as to how to handle property acquired during the marriage. This type of prenuptial agreement can be referred to as a “Complex” prenuptial agreement. These “Complex” pre-nup agreements can include the following:

Definition of which assets and debts acquired during marriage are separate property belonging to only one spouse
Allow one spouse to have control of specific property
Define which spouses’ property rights in case of Death, Separation or Divorce
Define Spousal Support / alimony if the issue arises
Impose specific duties and obligations of individual spouses during the marriage
Define individual spouse’s child care requirements
Pre-nup Agreement 101:

Before we look at some specific areas that can be included in a pre-nup agreement, let’s review the basics:

Pre-nup agreements must be:

In writing and executed before the marriage.
Fair and reasonable and based on full disclosure by both parties of all assets and liabilities. (although, full disclosure can potentially be waived.)
One lawyer cannot represent both spouses. Each spouse should have their own attorney to prepare and review the documents and answer all questions before signing.

Post-nup agreements:

So, we have been discussing pre-nup agreements, but what is a post-nup agreement and how are they different? The only key difference is that, as the name suggests, the agreement is entered into by the couple AFTER they get married.

Different Areas a Pre-nup can cover:

Retirement funds:

The idea that what you owned prior to marriage is “separate property” and what you acquired during the marriage is “marital property” is established by statute in North Carolina. So, in theory, when potential clients ask for a simple prenup, they are requesting “protections” that are, for the most part, already provided by statute.

But a “complex” prenup will help with property acquired during the marriage – such as your 401k. If you have $100,000 in your 401(k) before you get married that $100,000 remains your separate property. However, as you continue to contribute to that 401(k) from the date of your marriage onward, all contributions, plus passive gains and losses becomes marital property. With a pre-nup agreement, a spouse can dictate what happens to their retirement account after the date of marriage.

Employee Paychecks:

Once you get married, the paycheck that you earn during the marriage is marital and not separate. So, when you take your paycheck (that is in your sole name) and put it into a savings account that is in your sole name, those funds in that savings account then become marital property. However, in a prenup, you can dictate that those funds remain separate.

What most of us do not understand is that it does not matter whose name an asset is in – if my retirement account or paycheck and savings account are in my name before marriage and it remains in my name after marriage, then it is theirs. That is not the case.

A complex prenup will start to change what the statutes provide for and that’s why they are more “complex.”


Prenups also can determine how debt is handled. Most people tend to think that prenups only deal with assets but they can also detail how post marriage debt is handled.


Another important aspect about prenups is alimony. Typically, male clients are concerned about spousal support and more specifically the waiver of spousal support. This can be included in a pre-nup agreement! However, clients need to be careful with waiving spousal support in prenups because a waiver of spousal support may not always be enforced.

For example, a husband and wife (in their early 20’s when they get married) sign a prenup where they waive alimony. Then the couple have children and the one of the spouses forgoes a career to stay at home and raise the children for the next 20 years. During that time, if the other spouse becomes successful and now earns a substantial salary, then files for divorce, the stay at home spouse’s waiver of alimony may not be enforced. The State will look hard at the agreement and determine if it is equitable to hold a spouse to something they agreed to in their 20’s when they had no idea they would have been a stay at home parent for the next 20 years with no career and no reasonable way to earn income or get back into the workforce after being a stay at home parent. And if this causes the spouse to become dependent upon state assistance, the State is more likely to not enforce this provision of the pre-nup.


Pre-nup agreements can be applicable for any couple who are about to get married, no matter how much money they have.
Pre-nup agreements can be “simple” – covering the assets of the couples have before they get married.
Pre-nup agreements can be “complicated” and cover multiple situations that couples want to legally designate.
Our attorneys understand that a pre-nup agreement is as individual as the couple creating it and are ready to provide you the agreement you need.

If you are interested in getting a pre-nup agreement, contact our office at 704-333-9900.

North Carolina Man Refuses Breath Test At Drunk Driving Arrest


North Carolina man refuses breath test at drunk driving arrest
MARCH 25, 2015

A 52-year-old man from Charlotte, North Carolina, refused a breath test as well as a blood or urine test when he was arrested for allegedly driving drunk on St. Patrick’s Day. Rock Hill police confronted him after he crashed his girlfriend’s 2005 Volvo into a metal post protecting a gas pump at a Rock Hill gas station.

The police report stated that his car was heavily damaged in the front and the airbags had opened. Fluids were also leaking from the car. Under the driver’s seat, police claimed to find an open brandy bottle. First responders had difficulty getting the man into an ambulance. They described him as disorderly and trying to leave the scene. Police charged the driver for DUI, having an open alcohol container and driving with a suspended license.

A witness who had been driving behind the Volvo after exiting Interstate 77 said the car had been moving erratically. The witness also saw the car crash at the gas station located on Cherry Road.

A person who has been charged with driving while intoxicated could face jail time along with high fines. A drunk driving record also has a long-term impact on someone’s auto insurance rates. The guidance of an attorney might help someone defend his or her record. Sometimes an attorney might be able to get charges dropped if police performed a sobriety test incorrectly. In other situations, an attorney might succeed in negotiating a light sentence or possibly getting a license reinstated.

Marines Sexual Assault Allegations

Fatal accident in Charlotte blamed on speed, drinking. Authorities in North Carolina have reported that one person was killed and another seriously injured in the early morning hours of July 22 in a one-vehicle accident in Charlotte. Police believe that speeding and drunk driving contributed to the crash. The accident took place on Brown Grier Road at approximately 1:35 a.m. in the Steel Creek area.

Police responded to the scene between Griers Fork Drive and Gallant Lane after receiving a 911 call from an individual reporting that they had heard an accident. They discovered a car that had left the roadway and struck a tree. Officers say that the woman behind the wheel of the car had likely lost control as she attempted to negotiate a curve in the road. Emergency response personnel transported the driver to the Carolinas Medical Center with what were described as serious injuries. A 43-year-old man who had been a passenger in the car was pronounced dead at the scene.

Area residents say that excessive speed is a common problem on Brown Grier Road, and they added that the posted 35 mph speed limit is widely disregarded. Police say that the driver of the car has been charged with driving on a revoked driver’s license and driving while impaired. They added that more charges may be forthcoming as their investigation progresses.

The penalties for drunk driving can be severe in North Carolina when an accident results in death or serious injury. A criminal defense attorney may closely scrutinize police and accident reports as well as witness statements to see if an accident may have been caused by factors other than impairment. Such factors could include the negligent actions of other drivers or treacherous road conditions. An attorney could also dispute the accuracy of blood or breath tests results used to establish a motorists level of intoxication.

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Domestic Violence, Obtain A Protective Order

Domestic Violence And How To Obtain A Protective Order

Being a spouse or partner in an abusive relationship is a very difficult situation for you and your children. Not knowing where to turn or what rights you have to protect yourself and your family can be painful as you try to do the best you can. The state of North Carolina provides protection for people in this situation through the courts – Domestic Violence Protective Orders, which are also called a “50B,” or Restraining Order.

A Restraining Order, is signed by a judge and orders your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers legal protection from domestic violence to both female, male victims and minor children.

Benefits of a Restraining Order:

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are important benefits to getting a Restraining Order. A Restraining Order can protect you and your loved ones in the following ways:

Orders the abuser to stay away from and to not assault, threaten or harass you and your minor children;
Living Arrangements:
Allows you to maintain possession of your residence or home and order the abuser to move out and not return, no matter who owns the home or is on the lease; or
Orders the abuser to provide suitable alternative housing for you and your children; and
Allows the police to remove the abuser from the home so you can return;
Gives you temporary custody of your minor children,
Orders the abuser to pay temporary child support and
Establish temporary visitation (custody, child support, and visitation only apply if the abuser is the parent of the child);
Orders your abusive spouse to pay temporary spousal support;
Immediate arrest of abuser for any violation;
Recovery of attorney’s fees.
Types and Duration of Restraining Orders:

Emergency ex parte domestic violence order:
An emergency ex parte order is issued by the court after hearing from one side only (in this case the abused spouse or partner).
If a judge finds that you have presented sufficient evidence of danger from acts of domestic violence to you and/or your children, he or she will issue an emergency ex parte Restraining Order.
The Order lasts for approximately ten (10) days
Provides for various forms of relief such keeping the abuser away from you and your children.
If an ex parte Restraining Order is entered, the court must set a hearing within ten (10) days after giving notice to the abuser.

Final Restraining Order:
Issued by a judge after a full hearing
At a Restraining Order hearing, you should tell the judge:
What the abuser has done to physically hurt you or your children
What threats of bodily injury the abuser made to you or your children
Why exactly you fear for your safety
How the abuser has stalked or harassed you.
There are many different types of evidence that may be introduced at the hearing. For example, you could bring photos of broken furniture or objects; photos of your physical injuries; medical records; police reports as well as records of work missed as a result of the abuse.
Can last up to 1 calendar year
Can a Restraining Order be extended?

Restraining Orders are not permanent. The initial Order can last up to one year. As the initial party requesting the Restraining Order, you have the right to request an extension of the original order. What are the key elements of extending a DVPO?

The extension can only be for another 2-year term
However, it is possible to ask for multiple extensions of up to 2 years
The requesting spouse/partner must show “good cause” on why the protective order is still needed.
“Good cause” can be based on the same set of facts that created the original DVPO. New acts of abuse do not seem to be required.
Extending the order is within the judge’s discretion and not required by the state statute.
What happens if the Original Order Expires before an Extension is Granted?

This can be a dangerous time for anyone covered by a Restraining Order. Once an original order expires, the parties are no longer bound to abide by any restrictions in that order – even if an extension has been requested but not yet granted. That is why the state statute requires a party’s request to renew be made before the expiration of the existing order. However, the statute does not require the renewal order be entered by the court before expiration of the existing order. It is important you communicate with your lawyers and let them know you want an extension of the order long before it expires.

Key facts about a Restraining Order (DVPO or “50B”):

Can be requested by a spouse or partner (Male or female) alleging abuse, harassment, or stalking to them or their children
Initial order is for 10 days based on the allegations of the abused spouse
A full hearing on the Restraining Order is held and if a Final Restraining Order is granted, it is limited to a term of 1 year
A person can request multiple extensions of the original Restraining Order but each extension can only last 2 years
If the original Restraining Order expires before the extension is approved, none of the parties are restricted by the original order
Being in an abusive relationship is not easy on the you or your children. The law provides protection if you are in such a relationship. There are specific legal steps necessary to obtain and renew a Restraining Order (DVPO or “50B).” Our team of caring qualified attorneys are here to help if you find yourself in such a terrible situation. Call us today at 704-333-9900 or online here.

Charged With Drug-Related Crimes

3 charged with drug-related crimes in North Carolina

According to reports, three North Carolina residents were taken into police custody on drug-related charges. Two men and one woman were accused after several drug task forces conducted two different investigations in Bladen County.

The task forces reportedly executed a search warrant at a residence located in Clarkton. The authorities allegedly seized a number of drugs and drug-related items including 4.5 grams of crack cocaine, four bundles of heroin and digital scales. Additionally, they allegedly seized $1,540 and a handgun.

The 42-year-old man who reportedly lived at the residence was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin, manufacturing cocaine, maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A 49-year-old woman was charged with manufacturing cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances. The woman was released from jail after posting $25,000 secured bond, and the man remained in jail under a $150,000 secured bond.

The third man, age 45, was reportedly convicted following a three-month prescription pill investigation. He was charged with two counts of trafficking by sell of opium, two counts of trafficking by possession of opium and two counts of trafficking by deliver of opium.

Those who are accused of drug possession may be facing serious consequences if they are convicted. These consequences may include a lengthy jail sentence and probation. Depending upon the specific circumstances of the case, an attorney may be able to help their client either fight the charges or negotiate a plea deal. For example, if there is evidence that the officers executed an illegal search warrant, the attorney may be able to have the evidence thrown out in court. Otherwise, the attorney may be able to negotiate the with the prosecution in order to reduce the severity of the charges or consequences.

21 Arrested In Drug Raid

21 arrested in drug raid

Drug complaints concerning a fitness center in North Carolina led to police making 21 arrests on Aug. 22. Police claim the arrests were a result of an eight-month investigation referred to as Operation Blue Thunder. The operation was a joint effort between the Mitchell County Sherriff’s Office, the Spruce Pine Police Department and Bakersville Police. Federal authorities and State Bureau of Investigation agents contributed in the raid as well. A local police chief said that most of the drug activity in the area is related to prescription medication.

Police say the main goal of the operation was to keep the people selling drugs off of Mitchell County’s streets. Investigators claim undercover officers were sold prescription drugs, steroids and methamphetamine during the eight-month investigation. Police seized 10 vehicles and other property as part of the investigation. All of the people arrested as a result of Operation Blue Thunder were charged with drug trafficking offenses. Police claim they plan to continue conducting similar operations and hope to make more arrests in the near future.

The people arrested in Operation Blue Thunder may benefit from contacting a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers can help the accused avoid having their charges upgraded. A defense lawyer may be able to help some of the defendants avoid jail time or other serious penalties that are often associated with drug trafficking.

A criminal defense lawyer could help ensure that a defendant’s right to due process have not been violated or overlooked by the legal system. Often times, an improper search and seizure or other discrepancies in the investigation may warrant lesser charges, a more lenient sentence or an outright dismissal. Even if an acquittal is unlikely, lawyers may still be able to negotiate a lesser sentence through a plea bargain.

3 Men Taken Into Custody After Heroin Bust

3 men taken into custody after heroin bust

On Oct. 29, three North Carolina men received criminal charges after authorities in New Hanover County allegedly found a large amount of heroin at an apartment owned by one of the men. According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the drug bust was the second largest discovery of heroin in the history of the county.

The drug raid was reportedly part of an investigation into alleged drug crimes that had been going on for the past three months. Officials believe that the man who owned the apartment kept heroin there in exchange for payments of $300 a week. During the operation, deputies reportedly seized 4.5 ounces of raw heroin, 1,500 bags of heroin, items used for drug manufacturing, drug paraphernalia and cash.

All three of the men were taken to New Hanover County Jail and charged for heroin trafficking, possession of heroin with intent to sell or deliver, conspiracy to traffic heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance. The apartment owner was held on a $100,000 secured bond, and the other two men were held on a $1 million secured bond. A child who was found in the apartment prompted a response by the Department of Social Services.

A person facing these kinds of charges may require a strategic criminal defense in order to avoid receiving a significant prison sentence. One way that a criminal defense attorney might help a defendant is by conducting a detailed investigation into the search warrant that was executed. If authorities violated the homeowner’s rights in any way, this information may be used to file motions to suppress evidence that was seized.

Charged With Drug Offenses

North Carolina man charged with drug offenses following chase

According to reports by the Wilmington Police Department, a 22-year-old man was taken into custody following a brief foot pursuit. The man is facing several criminal charges, including drug possession, for his alleged actions.

Authorities reported they received calls regarding a suspicious vehicle parked at Greenfield Lake Park. After going to that location, police reportedly found the man inside and asked him to step out of the vehicle. Officers then conducted a search of the man in order to see if he had weapons. Although no weapons were found, law enforcement officers claim they found a bag containing 10 grams of crack cocaine.

The man then reportedly fled on foot. Officers later found him hiding inside of a bathroom at a bar. He was detained and charged with multiple offenses, including possession with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell cocaine as well as resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree trespassing. There is no word concerning whether a bond has yet been set in the man’s case.

A charge for possession with intent to sell is treated more harshly than simple drug possession in North Carolina. People who are accused have a right to defend against their charges, and they may benefit by speaking to a criminal defense attorney as soon as they are able to do so. An attorney could review the circumstances surrounding a defendant’s case in order to formulate a strong defense. When officers stop a vehicle, for instance, they might need to have reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred or that one is in progress if they do not have a warrant. However, if officers did not have probable cause, then a lawyer could attempt to suppress evidence, which could weaken the prosecution’s case against the defendant.