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Winston Salem Business Owner Found Not Guilty of Domestic Violence Protective Order Violations

Charge: Domestic Violence Protective Order Violation

Case Result: Dismissal of 50-B, DVPO violation — Not Guilty

Our client has a child in common with a local woman. She initiated a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), signed in 2019. The two parties have a custody order in place in which it is specified as to how to exchange the minor child. On one occasion there was a dispute between the child’s mother and a member of the client’s family involving the drop off. A DVPO was initiated and later modified in May of 2019 without the client present or aware of the modifications. The client was subsequently arrested for multiple DVPO violations and held in custody. It was alleged that our client called the state’s witness numerous times.

First, we pulled the phone records of our client and went through them with a fine-toothed comb in order to flesh out if any calls were made on the dates in question. We found that the “contact” was our client calling back numbers he did not recognize because those are part of his duties as a business owner. The state’s witness was creating random numbers, calling our client, and when he called back she was insisting that he violated the DVPO. At trial, we methodically laid our defense, undermined the credibility of the state’s witness through cross-examination, and used the phone records we procured to fight for our client. The trial was in two phases on two separate dates, one for the first DVPO alleged violation and the other for the criminal charges that were related to the alleged violations.The hearing regarding the 50-B violation centered around whether the filing and service of the 50-B itself was proper. This was conducted in a special pre-trial session in which the authenticity of the underlying 50-B itself was challenged. We argued that the 50-B was modified in a way that was improper because our client was not present, nor was the client’s counsel at the time present for the hearing. We pulled a copy of the recording of the hearing to verify the absence of the client and counsel. The judge agreed with our argument and dismissed the DVPO violation.

The next trial took place at a later date, shortly after the first hearing. The cross-examination of the state’s witness was one of the most important parts of the criminal trial, as the state’s case hinged on the veracity of their witness. We attacked the witnesses’ credibility by first establishing that there was a pending custody case between the two parties in which the state’s witness had been held in contempt. Next, we questioned the witness on the various numbers used to call our client and the intent behind changing those numbers frequently. We then tied that intent to the modification to the DVPO in May of 2019 in which the change in the order was the reason for a later alleged violation. Also, the prosecution hinged on playing a voicemail allegedly sent from our client to the witness. Upon further scrutiny of the voicemail it was on a different date than alleged to the investigating officer and the number from which it came was never substantiated. The court agreed that the voicemail did not show contact beyond reasonable doubt.

In the end, a verdict of not guilty was rendered on all counts.

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