Civil and Criminal Domestic Violence Actions in Mecklenburg County
A person can be accused of domestic violence through a criminal civil action, criminal charge, or both. The difference between civil and criminal domestic violence actions is the standard of proof. A civil domestic violence action requires only that a preponderance of the evidence is necessary for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for a criminal domestic violence action. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil actions carry only the possible consequence of monetary damages or possible other orders of the court that do not carry the possibility of incarceration, as criminal domestic violence cases will.
If you have any questions regarding civil and criminal domestic violence actions in Mecklenburg County, call today. An experienced domestic violence lawyer could advocate for you and help you understand your legal options.
What is an Accuser Asking for in a Civil Domestic Violence Action Vs. Criminal?
Usually, in a civil domestic violence action, an accuser is looking for monetary damages in the form of reimbursement for any medical bills that they may have incurred as a result of injuries. In addition, they are often looking for possession of a property and that the accused be kept away from it. Also, depending on the circumstances, they might even be asking for custody of children.
An accuser in a criminal domestic violence action is asking for a criminal conviction and, depending on the circumstances; they are often asking for the punishment to include potential jail time and removal from the home of the accuser.
When the Accuser Drops the Charges
An accuser can drop a civil domestic violence action at any point. They are the petitioner in the civil action, and there is nothing that requires them to go forward with their own petition.
Usually, once charges have been brought, the decision whether to pursue a charge is in the hands of the prosecutor and not the accuser. There are certain circumstances, however, in which someone may have brought charges and later changes their mind. The accuser might be able to persuade the prosecutor not to go forward with the charges. Once charges are brought, though, it almost always results in the prosecutor going ahead with the case even if the alleged victim wants to drop it.
Even if an accuser drops a civil domestic violence action, the prosecutor can require through a subpoena that the accuser participates in the criminal case. If they have been subpoenaed to testify, and they are not facing criminal charges themselves, they cannot plead the Fifth Amendment. Therefore, the prosecutor is using the subpoena power of the court to compel the testimony of the accuser in court.
For more information about civil and criminal domestic violence actions in Mecklenburg County, call a dedicated attorney today.
Importance of Limiting Contact with the Accused During the Proceedings
Almost always in a criminal domestic violence proceeding, there will be a court order requiring the accused to limit contact or have no contact with an accuser. That is also important because anything that the accused says in that contact can be used against them in either a civil or a criminal proceeding. Also, any contact can affect the outcome of the case if it is seen or interpreted as being an attempt to influence the accuser’s testimony or actions.
A lawyer who is knowledgeable about civil and criminal domestic violence actions in Mecklenburg County could help you if have been accused of domestic violence. Call today.