Domestic Criminal Trespass in North Carolina
Domestic criminal trespass – where family law and criminal law come together: Everyone has heard of trespass, which is typically a misdemeanor in North Carolina. However, many people have never heard of this form of trespass – domestic criminal trespass. Domestic criminal trespass is simply one form of trespass in NC. It is governed by N.C.G.S. 14-134.3. Domestic criminal trespass in North Carolina is generally a misdemeanor but can become a felony in certain situations. Domestic criminal trespass is an issue that comes up relatively often in family law.
Many couples, whether they are married or not, live together in the same home. This law anticipates that there may be some issues when these pairs separate. Let’s take a look at how this law operates.
Domestic Criminal Trespass Charges
A person can be charged with domestic criminal trespass if he or she enters the premises of a current or former spouse or domestic partner after being forbidden to do so or ordered to leave by the lawful occupant. A person can only be charged with this crime in NC if they are currently living apart from the other person. In other words, you cannot have your spouse charged with this crime if you are still living together. Since being separate and apart is an important element of this crime, let’s take a look at some of the evidence used to demonstrate that the parties are actually living apart:
- There is a judicial order of separation;
- There is a court order directing the person charged to stay away from the premises occupied by the complainant
- There is a verbal OR written agreement between the parties that the parties shall live separate and apart AND such parties are in fact living separate and apart; or
- The parties have separate residences.
In a nutshell, this law forbids an ex-spouse or ex-domestic partner from leaving the shared home and then coming back without permission and against the wishes of the remaining spouse or partner. It is typically a misdemeanor in North Carolina. We discuss the punishment below.
Punishment for Domestic Criminal Trespass in NC
Domestic criminal trespass is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. This is the second most serious level misdemeanor in the state. Further, violation of this law can become a felony in certain situations. If the defendant trespassed at a safe house or safe haven for victims of domestic violence and the person was armed with a deadly weapon when they did so, it is a Class G felony.
If you are in need of a family law attorney, contact Gilles Law. We handle divorce, custody, child support, adoption, and other family law matters in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.