This blog entry will discuss the domestic violence protective order in North Carolina. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of an attorney.
What is Domestic Violence?
North Carolina’s general statutes define domestic violence in N.C.G.S. § 50B-1 as the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship, but does not include acts of self-defense:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury; or
- Placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in S. 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or
- Committing any act defined in S. 14-27.21 through G.S. 14-27.33.
What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
A domestic violence protective order is a type of restraining order, which grants a victim of domestic violence protection from their abuser. Sometimes referred to as a DVPO, or a 50B, this order prevents the abuser from engaging in specific behavior with the victim or may be charged with violation of a domestic violence protective order and may face serious legal consequences.
How Does Someone Obtain a DVPO?
The complainant must have a personal relationship with the alleged abuser, such as a domestic partner or a family member. If this criterion is not met, the complainant may be interested in a no-contact order, otherwise known as a 50C order.
The process is initiated by filing a complaint. The complaint must indicate whether or not the complainant is seeking an ex parte order before the final DVPO decision is made. These papers must be served on the alleged abuser.
Are There Different Types of DVPOs?
North Carolina has two types of DVPOs. The first type is known as an Ex Parte DVPO and the second is a final DVPO. The only difference between these two types of orders is the duration which they last. An ex parte order grants immediate protection to the victim and it is issued on the same day that the complaint for domestic violence is entered. If an ex parte order is not granted on the same day, a judge will usually hear the request within 72 hours of the complaint being entered. As the name implies, an ex parte order is normally entered without the abuser being present.
An ex parte order usually provides protection for ten days, after which, a formal hearing is conducted in order to have a final DVPO order granted. A final DVPO order, if granted, is generally good for one year. The abuser is provided a chance to defend themselves during the hearing. At the hearing, the parties may enter into a consent agreement, or they may have the judge decide if an order needs to be issued or not.
How is a DVPO Enforced?
If police have reasonable cause to suspect that a person has violated the terms of a DVPO, the police must arrest that person. The victim may also file for a motion of contempt for the violation of the DVPO.
If you have been charged with a crime in North or South Carolina and are in need of a criminal defense attorney, contact us to discuss your options.