Many people contact our office and ask what legal options do they have in the event their spouse does, or has, become abusive. Domestic violence is a serious issue that is not taken lightly in North Carolina. On the criminal side of the house, assault on a female and driving while impaired are likely the two most serious misdemeanors in North Carolina. Civilly speaking, if you are or have been in a relationship with domestic violence, you may seek protection by filing for a domestic violence protective order. If granted, you may receive immediate protection for a period of approximately 10 days without providing notice to the other party. At the end of that period of protection, you may seek that the order remain in place for a one-year period. During that time, the abuser may not come near you, contact you, nor may they contact your workplace, friends, or family. If they do, they will be arrested and prosecuted criminally.