Laurie Price (closetofheroes) wrote in little_details,
Laurie Price

Domestic violence sentencing question - complicated!

I've got a scenario involving a woman being beaten up by her alcoholic boyfriend in the presence of her 11 year old son. The place is some fictional city in North Carolina, the year is 1998.

I want to work things in the story so that the boyfriend winds up serving a prison sentence that is a matter of years--and where it's complicated is that I want the son to do something that's underhand, yet not too unethical, that results in the boyfriend serving more time than he otherwise would have. The story starts when the son is going on 16, and I'd like the man's release to be either imminent or to have occurred within the past few months. So he needs to have served at least 3 years.

Google search terms I've used: sentencing for domestic violence NC, domestic violence sentencing north carolina, what makes an assault aggravated, degrees of assault north carolina, possession of drugs in north carolina. I've looked at the North Carolina structured sentencing chart here, and I've read information on various defense lawyer websites.

I've learned a lot, but I need a little help on some points to make sure my outline is plausible. Please see below cut to view the scenario in more detail, the information I think I've found, and the possibilities I'm toying with and the questions I have.

The story:
The woman (A) dated the boyfriend (B) and he unofficially lived with her and her son (C) for some months. B is a heavy drinker with an unpredictable temper, and hits A a few times, without causing serious bodily injury. One night however he gets drunk, hits her and starts breaking stuff, and C wakes and sees. This is a wake up call, and she makes B leave, breaking up with him. Nearly a year later B returns and asks her to take him back claiming to be reformed. She does, but things soon go back to being the way they were - and then one night it gets worse, he badly beats her up, breaking her arm in the process. When C discovers whats happening he is enraged at attacks B, causing some relatively minor injuries. Meanwhile a neighbor overhears the commotion and calls the police. By the time they arrive B has caused C to hit his head causing a concussion. He is arrested. C, angry and afraid, wants B to go to prison, but either hears or suspects that the sentence will be light - community service or a mere few months inside. So he does something about this - either plants some evidence that incriminates B and brings about a more serious conviction, or tells some falsehood on the stand. Whatever it is, it shouldn't be a blatant injustice - for example he might plant drugs that he's sure the police will find, knowing that B has been guilty of drug use in the past.

What I've found from research:

- If a man, 18 years of age or older, assaults a female, he is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor which would result in a mere 1 - 60 days sentence of either community service, probation or jail (if there are no priors).
- If serious bodily injury is inflicted it's a Class F Felony (in NC) which will result in at least 13 months if there are no priors and the circumstances aren't mitigating.
- If there's a weapon and intent to kill it goes up to 20 months minimum.
- Committing domestic violence in the presence of a minor (under 12) is a separate crime that may be charged separately or in addition to the act of violence.
- A criminal lawyer explains here  that in NC, the convicted defendant serves at least the bottom of the sentencing range. 'North Carolina has done away with parole. Life means life. And an active sentence of 12 to 18 months mean the defendant will serve at least 12 months.'

My questions:

How much might the presence of C, a minor, at the time of the incide increase the sentence?
If B was in possession of drugs, would that increase the sentence, if so by how much?
How about if he was drunk at the time, and it was learned that he had been driving a vehicle while in that condition?
How about if he assaulted one of the police officers?
What crime or misdemeanor might C later accuse him of or plant evidence of that would result in an increase in the sentence by a matter of at least a year?
Could C testify? I'm thinking that he might make some accusation on the stand that would have an impact on the sentence.
What if C somehow managed to plant illegal drugs at B's residence and tipped the police off that he suspected him of drug use? Would that be plausible and would it make much difference to the sentence?
Would C be in any trouble for assaulting B (who was not attacking him)?
Would there be restrictions placed on B's movements after his release? I learned that NC has 'done away with parole' but I'm not sure how that works. Could A have a restraining order imposed?

That's a lot of questions, I know, hopefully not too many. They're all related to the same event. Any advice, ideas or information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Tags: usa: government: law enforcement (misc), usa: north carolina

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