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Daniel Solutions
Daniel Solutions, Divorce Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9934
Experience:  Practicing Attorney for over 15 years
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We live in Charlotte, NC... My step-daughters mother slapped

Resolved Question:

We live in Charlotte, NC... My step-daughter's mother slapped her very hard across the face two days ago. (not the first time...) My step-daughter called 911 and her dad & I. The police said that NC is a corporal punishment state; therefore, they could not do anything about it... 1) Is this true? 2) What can we do to assist her?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Daniel Solutions replied 8 years ago.
The common law recognized that parents and persons acting in loco parentis (in the place of
a parent) had the right to discipline their children by reasonable and timely punishment, including
corporal punishment. In other words, if a parent were charged with a crime such as battery, the
parent could raise the defense of parental privilege and avoid criminal liability by demonstrating that
his use of force against his child was a reasonable exercise of the parental right to discipline. While the law has traditionally given broad discretion to parents in exercising the parental
right to discipline their children, the parental privilege is limited, and exceeding those limits leaves
the parent open to criminal liability. The limits of the parental privilege cannot be easily defined but
rather are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis and stated in terms such as "reasonable under the
circumstances.
In determining
reasonableness, the law considers all of the circumstances surrounding the punishment, including the
age and physical condition of the child, the severity of the punishment inflicted on the child and the
gravity of the offense committed by the child. A cursory review of the cases indicates that the courts
are very deferential to moderate spankings on the buttocks but are more suspicious when permanent
injuries or scars are inflicted, when objects such as glass bottles and baseball bats are used and when
episodes of beatings continue for prolonged periods of time. The question of whether a parent's
disciplinary action is reasonable is a question for the jury. A defendant's conviction will not be
overturned on appeal unless there is no evidence to support the jury's verdict.
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