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What type of relationship do domestic violence charges require?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2022 | assault and battery, criminal defense

Intimate partner violence, in which one party allegedly acts abusively toward someone else with which he or she has had a romantic relationship, is one of the most common forms of domestic violence. From a sociological point of view, it is only one of several different forms of domestic violence. For example, abuse can also occur among blood relatives.

While domestic violence may take several different forms, North Carolina state law takes a different view. According to the University of North Carolina, the law sometimes specifies that a particular type of relationship must exist between the alleged abuser and the person on the receiving end of the abuse for some domestic violence charges. For others, the law is more ambiguous.

Domestic criminal trespass

To trespass on a property is to enter without permission or remain against the express wishes of the lawful occupant. In North Carolina, a domestic criminal trespass occurs when a person trespasses on a property in which the lawful occupant is a current or former spouse or someone with whom the person allegedly trespassing has lived as though married. Therefore, this type of charge requires a romantic relationship, past or present, between the two parties.


The North Carolina General Assembly expressly recognizes a strong connection between domestic violence and stalking. The wording of such implies that legislators were thinking specifically of intimate partner violence when drafting the law. Nevertheless, the law requires no specific relationship between the two parties as a prerequisite for stalking charges.

The law shows some ambiguity in other respects as well. For example, a person who seeks a domestic violence protection order against someone else need not have a romantic relationship with the other party, but there does have to be some sort of personal relationship.