North Carolina General Statute 15A-534.1 states that only a judge, not a magistrate judge, may set bond in a domestic violence case within the first 48 hours after arrest.
The statute applies to domestic violence charges with the definition of a “spouse or former spouse or a person with whom the defendant lives or has lived as if married.”
Previously, same-sex couples were not covered. However, now a same-sex couple married in North Carolina or elsewhere are “spouse[s],” or if subsequently divorced, “former spouse[s].” Same-sex couples who are cohabiting are living together as if married.
It appears as if the definition will now cover same-sex couples. The attorneys at Garrett, Walker and Aycoth, practicing both family law and domestic violence defense, will keep a close watch on both the legislature and appellate courts to see if the definition legally changes.