Ray Rice Domestic Violence RaleighWhether you follow the NFL or not you have seen or heard about the video of Ray Rice punching his fiancé out cold and dragging her out of the elevator. This incident occurred in February of this year, in New Jersey.

Both Rice and his fiancé, Janay Palmer, were arrested and charged with assault. Rice was suspended for two games of the 2014 NFL season and the criminal charges were later dropped after he agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling.

Since then, the video of this incident has surfaced and the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and he has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely.

How Would Wake County Respond to Domestic Assault?

Of course this incident has thrown the NFL in the spotlight and many may feel that had the video not surfaced, then further actions would not have been taken by the NFL, which may or may not be true.

However, had Ray Rice assaulted a female in Wake County, regardless of his athlete status, he may or may not have been given the opportunity to complete an abuser treatment program. There are many instances where someone is charged with an assault in Wake County and the punishments vary. More often than not assaults, like Rice’s, are domestic related.

From my experience handling these cases, it’s fair to say that if the defendant, male or female, has no prior criminal history, they will be afforded the opportunity to enter into a deferral. Someone entering into this deferral would more than likely have to complete an abuser treatment program, stay out of trouble for 12 months and not harass, assault or threaten the victim. If the defendant abides by the conditions of the deferral, their case will be dismissed at the end of the 12 month period.

If the defendant does have a prior criminal history, depending on their record level, they could face up to 150 days in a North Carolina jail. If they receive a probationary sentence, then they will be ordered to also complete an abuser treatment program, as a condition of their probation.

What if the Perpetrator is a Habitual Offender?

If someone continues to commit misdemeanor assaults, they can achieve the status of habitual misdemeanor assault, which can result in a felony conviction.

A person commits the offense of habitual misdemeanor assault if:

  • that person violates any of the provision of G.S. 14-33 (the statute that covers misdemeanor assaults) and causes physical injury,
  • commits assault by pointing a gun,
  • has two or more prior convictions for either misdemeanor or felony assault, with the earlier of the two prior convictions occurring no more than 15 years prior to the date of the current violation.

A person convicted of violating this section is guilty of a Class H felony.

Can a Charge be Dropped with Testimony from the Victim?

Many defendants seem to think that if the “victim” tells the Assistant District Attorney that they don’t want to pursue charges against the defendant, that this is enough for the State to dismiss the case. This is not how it works at all in Wake County. Wake County takes domestic violence very seriously and they prosecute it very zealously. Simple

Simple assault, and assault on a female are very serious charges, especially when it is between two people in a relationship.

Are You Facing Charges of Assault in North Carolina?

If you find yourself facing one of these charges, contact a Raleigh attorney at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, LLP. Let an experienced legal team review your case today.

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Jeff is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh. He has effectively represented the citizens of Wake County and all over North Carolina since 1989.

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