Stalking Laws in North Carolina


Stalking is a crime that is taken seriously in North Carolina. If you have been charged with this criminal offense, you will need the help of a skilled lawyer to help put together a strong defense. Facing charges like these can be scary and disorienting. They have the ability to derail your future, and they can mar your reputation for years to come. In North Carolina, stalking is a class A1 misdemeanor, which places it in the same category as assault inflicting serious injury and assault with a deadly weapon. If you already have a stalking conviction on your record, subsequent stalking charges are a class F felony, which can come with steep fines and jail time upon conviction, not to mention the impact they will have on your social relationships, financial future, career, and housing prospects. If you are facing criminal charges for stalking, contact a Charlotte criminal defense lawyer.

Stalking is a Violent Crime, Even When it Does Not Involve Physical Contact. North Carolina law defines stalking as following, observing, monitoring, or communicating with a person while aware that your doing so will cause them emotional distress. Stalking can include repeated incidents of harassment and intimidating behavior, even if they do not include overt threats of physical harm. Stalking often occurs in the context of domestic violence; in most criminal cases involving stalking, the defendant is the estranged spouse or former romantic partner of the victim. Therefore, the law treats stalking as an early stage of domestic violence and imposes penalties accordingly.

What kinds of communications counts as stalking? You have probably seen scary movies where a stalker physically follows a victim or figures out where a victim will be in order to plan an attack. Today, there are so many ways to stay in contact, and it is easy to imagine how all of them can turn ugly. Just as schoolyard bullies can now continue their bullying on What’s App, and Internet trolls spread ugly rumors on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok, stalking can take place through any means of communication.

For example, if you continuously contact your ex in person, or by phone, text message, email, or social media message, you could be charged with stalking. You can even get charged with stalking if you are not the one who placed the phone call, sent the text message, or posted the images on Facebook. If you instruct a third party to communicate to or about the victim in order to cause the victim to feel fear or distress, this is enough to result in stalking charges, and those charges can land you in jail.

Misunderstood Terms in Criminal Law



Commonly Misunderstood Terms in North Carolina Criminal Law

In the court of public opinion, there are only two kinds of crime, namely violent crime and nonviolent crime, and violent crime is always bad. Even as public support increases for pretrial diversion programs and other ways of reducing mass incarceration, a lot of people will qualify their statements with “only for nonviolent offenses.” Therefore, if you are being accused of assault, domestic violence, or any other crime related to physical violence, you might feel like you have no one on your side. In fact, all defendants in criminal cases, no matter the seriousness of the crime of which they are accused, have legal rights, including the right to representation by a lawyer. If you are facing charges for a violent crime, contact a Charlotte criminal defense attorney.

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.

Murder, Manslaughter, and Homicide

According to North Carolina law, murder and homicide are the same. These terms mean that the defendant intentionally killed the victim; the degrees of homicide depend on how premeditated the killing was. Manslaughter is when the victim died as a result of the defendant’s actions, but the defendant did not intend to kill the victim. It is voluntary manslaughter if the defendant intended to injure the victim but did not think that the victim would die, such as if the defendant and the victim got into a fistfight and the victim died of their injuries. Involuntary manslaughter is if the defendant caused an accident in which the victim suffered fatal injuries.


Not All Violent Crimes are Felonies

Another common misconception about violent crimes is that they are all felonies. In fact, it is possible to get misdemeanor charges for assault or battery if the victim does not sustain serious injuries. The chances that the prosecutors will treat your assault or battery charges as misdemeanors are greater if the victim was not seriously injured and if there were no weapons involved.

Another common misconception about violent crimes is that they are all felonies. In fact, it is possible to get misdemeanor charges for assault or battery if the victim does not sustain serious injuries. The chances that the prosecutors will treat your assault or battery charges as misdemeanors are greater if the victim was not seriously injured and if there were no weapons involved.

‘Birdnesting’ Approach To Joint Custody


‘Birdnesting’ could be an innovative approach to joint custody

Many divorced parents in North Carolina take time to consider how to best provide their children with a sense of stability. There are a number of custody options that people can consider, and joint or shared custody is perhaps more popular than ever. One alternative type of shared custody option is called “birdnesting.” It means that the kids remain in the family home while each parent moves out on a rotating basis.

In most cases, this is an option for people with some means as the parents generally must maintain a small apartment in addition to the family property. The parents share the apartment as well as the home, moving in and out on a weekly basis while the kids remain in the family house. “Birdnesting” is motivated by a desire not to disrupt the children’s lives by moving, changing schools or making other major changes.

However, “birdnesting” is usually a short-term, transitional solution that is best suited for parents seeking an amicable divorce. When divorcing spouses are regularly arguing, those arguments are likely to continue rather than end during the nesting process. For these families, a traditional joint child custody arrangement may be more suitable. Even for parents with strong communication and a positive relationship, nesting is typically done for a period of three to six months only. It can provide kids with a practical and emotional time to transition to a new family lifestyle. If kept going for too long, however, it could encourage false ideas that the parents may reconcile in the future.

When parents think about divorce, issues relating to the children are often the most emotionally fraught. A family law attorney could help a divorcing spouse negotiate an agreement about child custody and a parenting plan.

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

How Courts Handle Parental Disputes


How courts may handle parental disputes during divorce

Parents in Charlotte who are getting a divorce might think that, if they feel their child is unsafe with the other parent because of alcohol or drug abuse, it will be easy to get a court to act. However, the process is not always that straightforward.

One court ruled that even though a father drank nightly, this did not mean he imbibed when he had the children. Parents will usually need documentation to get a court to act. Ideally, this would be something like police reports, but in the absence of such evidence, parents might get testimony from a child care provider or neighbor. If a court does determine that a parent may be a danger to the child, psychological testing or a blood test might be required.

Parents can keep records that will help them in case of a custody battle. This should include records of any conflict with the other parent and actions such as taking the child to the doctor. One man was worried that his wife would drink and drive with their 7-year-old son in the car. 

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Your Rights With An Abusive Spouse


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;
  • Custody:
    • 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.

Being in an abusive relationship is not easy on 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

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536