(Commonly referred to as “Restraining Order,” “DVPO,” or “50B”)
Domestic violence in North Carolina is when someone you have had a “personal relationship” with does any of the following (to you or your minor child) – 1) attempts to cause bodily injury or intentionally causes bodily injury, 2) place you or a member of your family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, 3) continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress, or 4) commits any rape or sexual offense. A “personal relationship” is defined as a relationship where the parties involved are current or former spouses, persons who live together or used to live together, someone you are related to, someone with whom you have a child in common, or someone you are dating or dated.
A Domestic Violence Protective order (DVPO) (commonly called a “restraining order”) is civil in nature and provides protection from someone with whom you have or had a “personal relationship” with. In order to obtain a final domestic violence protective order, you must prove that the defendant has committed acts of domestic violence against you or your children.
These orders last up to one year, but you can ask the court to extend the order for an additional two years before it expires.
An ex parte order is temporary, immediate protection from the abuser/stalker.
A judge may issue an ex parte order the same day you file your complaint if the judge believes that there is a serious and immediate danger to you or your child. If the judge does not issue the ex parte order on the same day, the court must hear the request within 72 hours or by the end of the next day on which court is in session, whichever is first.
An ex parte order will last 10 days from when the order is granted (and when your full court hearing takes place) or within 7 days from the date the defendant is served, whichever is later.
Similar to DVPOS, North Carolina has something called a “no-contact” or a 50C order. This is very similar to a DVPO. The main difference is that a no-contact order is meant to protect the individual seeking the order from unwanted sexual contact or stalking from someone whom they do NOT have an intimate or familial relationship with.
Although these orders are civil in nature, the violation of an order (whether a DVPO/50B or a no-contact/50C) has criminal consequences. Violation of a DVPO is a class A1 misdemeanor. This is the most serious level of misdemeanor and can result in jail time, regardless of one’s criminal conviction record.