Violation of a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) in North Carolina
Everyone has heard the term “restraining order” when it comes to the Court ordering one person to stay away from another. However, this is not as universal a term as people think. In North Carolina, what most people are referring to when they say “restraining order” is what is properly called a Domestic Violence Protective Order. This is commonly referred to as a DVPO.
The DVPO is a civil order. However, this civil order has criminal consequences if violated. If you have been charged with violation of a domestic violence protective order in North Carolina you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss what your best options are.
What is a DVPO?
- A DVPO is a civil mechanism by which the court protects someone who shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she has been the victim of domestic violence, and/or is in reasonable fear that they will be the victim of a domestic violence.
- Obtaining a DVPO requires the Plaintiff (Victim) to file a complaint with the Court, and request a hearing. At this hearing, they must prove that they have been threatened or assaulted by a person that they are (or were) in a domestic relationship with. They must show that this has happened on more than one occasion.
What constitutes a violation?
- When a domestic violence protective order is granted, the judge orders the defendant in that case to stay away from the plaintiff. The judge further orders that the defendant not have contact of any kind with the plaintiff for a certain period of time.
- The ex-parte temporary order is usually about 10 days or less
- The permanent order is effective for one year
- A violation includes any contact by the defendant with the person that is protected by the order. This contact can include, but is not limited to; in-person, phone calls, text messages, social media messaging of any kind.
- Violation of a domestic violence protective order is punished as a class A1 misdemeanor. This is the highest level of misdemeanor in North Carolina.
- As such, a conviction of this crime follows the North Carolina Misdemeanor sentencing guidelines.
Violating a DVPO can have some serious consequences that have the potential to follow you forever. If you have been charged with this or any other crime, you should consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer.