In North Carolina, if a person believes that you have or that you might harm them, they may petition a court to issue a protective order in your name. Depending on their relationship with you, they may seek either an order under Code 50B (a domestic violence protective order) or under Code 50C (a no-contact order). Regardless of the type of relief the alleged victim seeks, the order may put various restrictions on you, and you could face penalties if you are found to have violated the order. That's why, if you've been notified that someone is requesting a restraining order against you, it's important to have legal representation on your side to fight the allegations.
What Is a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
Under Code 50B, a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) allows an individual who has a personal relationship with you to petition a court to place certain restrictions on you to protect their safety.
A "personal relationship" includes the following:
- Current or former spouses
- People of the opposite sex who currently or formerly lived together
- Parents and children
- People who have a child together
- Current or former household members
- People of the opposite sex who are currently or were formerly in a dating relationship
The person requesting to have the restraining order issued must submit a complaint providing the reasons that they believe the petition should be granted.
The court may consider issuing a DVPO, if the alleged victim claims you did any of the following:
- Attempted to or actually caused bodily harm;
- Placed them or a member of their family in fear of imminent bodily harm; or
- Committed a sexual offense against them
If the court finds that the person seeking the order was victim to or is in immediate danger of being victim to a domestic violence offense, the judge may issue an ex parte order. This means that they will place temporary restrictions on you based on the information in the complaint and without hearing your side of the story. An ex parte order is in effect for 10 days. After it is issued, you must be scheduled for a hearing that determines whether or not a permanent order is warranted.
At the full hearing, you and the alleged victim will have a chance to present your sides of the story. This is where you challenge the claims made in the complaint and fight against having an order issued in your name. If the judge decides in the complainant's favor, you will be subject to certain terms.
Some of the restrictions placed upon you under a 50B order include, but are not limited to:
- Refraining from contacting the alleged victim
- Removing you from a residence you share with the alleged victim
- Awarding temporary custody of your children to the alleged victim
- Requiring that you pay the alleged victim's attorney's fees
In addition to the conditions listed above, you may be required to surrender any firearms you own or possess. You may also be ordered to attend an abuser treatment program.
If you violate a 50B order, the police may arrest you, and you may be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor.
What Is a No-Contact Order?
Under North Carolina Code 50C, if an individual with whom you do not have a personal relationship alleges that you have committed a sexual assault against them or stalked them, they may seek a no-contact order. As with a DVPO, a judge may issue a temporary ex parte order based on the complaint. The temporary order is effective for 10 days.
Before a permanent order is issued, you will be scheduled for a hearing. If you fail to show up for the hearing, the no-contact order will be issued by default.
If 50C is granted, you may be ordered:
- Not to visit, assault, molest, or contact the alleged victim
- Not to stalk the alleged victim
- Not to harass the alleged victim
- Not to abuse or injure the alleged victim
- Not to go to the alleged victim's residence, school, work, or any place they might be
Violations of no-contact orders are pursued as civil or criminal contempt of court.
If a 50B or 50C order has been sought against you, reach out to Floyd Law Offices to discuss your case. We'll help build a compelling defense and fight the allegations. Call our firm in Raleigh at (919) 805-3663 or contact us online today.