North Carolina Law

Domestic Violence:

North Carolina’s legal definition of Domestic Violence:

§ 50B-1.  Domestic violence; definition.

  1. Domestic violence means the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship, but does not include acts of self-defense:
    1. Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury; or
    2. Placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party ’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in G.S. 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or
    3. Committing any act defined in G.S. 14-27.2 through G.S. 14-27.7.
  2. For purposes of this section, the term "personal relationship" means a relationship wherein the parties involved:
    1. Are current or former spouses;
    2. Are persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together;
    3. Are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren. For purposes of this subdivision, an aggrieved party may not obtain an order of protection against a child or grandchild under the age of 16;
    4. Have a child in common;

Dating Violence:

“Dating Violence” is not explicitly defined in North Carolina state’s code. 

Under the Violence Against Women Act (2014), Dating Violence is defined as: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

  1. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  2. For the purpose of this definition—
    1. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
    2. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Sexual Assault:

North Carolina’s legal definition of Sexual Assault:

§ 14-27.2. First-degree rape.

  1. A person is guilty of rape in the first degree if the person engages in vaginal intercourse:
    1. With a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or
    2. With another person by force and against the will of the other person, and:
      1. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
      2. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
      3. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons.
  2. Any person who commits an offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class B1 felony.
  3. Upon conviction, a person convicted under this section has no rights to custody of or rights of inheritance from any child born as a result of the commission of the rape, nor shall the person have any rights related to the child under Chapter 48 or Subchapter 1 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes.

§ 14-27.3. Second-degree rape.

  1. A person is guilty of rape in the second degree if the person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person:
    1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
    2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  2. Any person who commits the offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class C felony.
  3. Upon conviction, a person convicted under this section has no rights to custody of or rights of inheritance from any child conceived during the commission of the rape, nor shall the person have any rights related to the child under Chapter 48 or Subchapter 1 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes.

§ 14-27.4. First-degree sexual offense.

  1.  A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the first degree if the person engages in a sexual act:
    1.  With a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or
    2.  With another person by force and against the will of the other person, and:
      1.  Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
      2.  Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
      3.  The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons.
  2.  Any person who commits an offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class B1 felony. 

§ 14-27.5. Second-degree sexual offense.

  1.  A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the second degree if the person engages in a sexual act with another person:
    1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
    2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  2.  Any person who commits the offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class C felony. 

§ 14-27.5A. Sexual battery.

  1. (a) A person is guilty of sexual battery if the person, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, engages in sexual contact with another person:
    1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
    2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  2. Any person who commits the offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. 

Stalking: 

North Carolina ’s legal definition of Stalking: 

§ 14-277.3A. Stalking.

  1. Legislative Intent. - The General Assembly finds that stalking is a serious problem in this State and nationwide. Stalking involves severe intrusions on the victim ’s personal privacy and autonomy. It is a crime that causes a long-lasting impact on the victim ’s quality of life and creates risks to the security and safety of the victim and others, even in the absence of express threats of physical harm. Stalking conduct often becomes increasingly violent over time. The General Assembly recognizes the dangerous nature of stalking as well as the strong connections between stalking and domestic violence and between stalking and sexual assault. Therefore, the General Assembly enacts this law to encourage effective intervention by the criminal justice system before stalking escalates into behavior that has serious or lethal consequences. The General Assembly intends to enact a stalking statute that permits the criminal justice system to hold stalkers accountable for a wide range of acts, communications, and conduct. The General Assembly recognizes that stalking includes, but is not limited to, a pattern of following, observing, or monitoring the victim, or committing violent or intimidating acts against the victim, regardless of the means.
  2. Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:
    1. Course of conduct. - Two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, is in the presence of, or follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person ’s property.
    2. Harasses or harassment. - Knowing conduct, including written or printed communication or transmission, telephone, cellular, or other wireless telephonic communication, facsimile transmission, pager messages or transmissions, answering machine or voice mail messages or transmissions, and electronic mail messages or other computerized or electronic transmissions directed at a specific person that torments, terrorizes, or terrifies that person and that serves no legitimate purpose.
    3. Reasonable person. - A reasonable person in the victim ’s circumstances.
    4. Substantial emotional distress. - Significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  3. Offense. - A defendant is guilty of stalking if the defendant willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose and the defendant knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to do any of the following:
    1. Fear for the person ’s safety or the safety of the person ’s immediate family or close personal associates.
    2. Suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment.
  4. Classification. - A violation of this section is a Class A1 misdemeanor. A defendant convicted of a Class A1 misdemeanor under this section, who is sentenced to a community punishment, shall be placed on supervised probation in addition to any other punishment imposed by the court. A defendant who commits the offense of stalking after having been previously convicted of a stalking offense is guilty of a Class F felony. A defendant who commits the offense of stalking when there is a court order in effect prohibiting the conduct described under this section by the defendant against the victim is guilty of a Class H felony.
  5. Jurisdiction. - Pursuant to G.S. 15A-134, if any part of the offense occurred within North Carolina, including the defendant ’s course of conduct or the effect on the victim, then the defendant may be prosecuted in this State. (2008-167, s. 2.)