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Overview of Civil and Domestic Violence Protective Orders – Part I

North Carolina provides two kinds of civil protective orders:

  • Civil No-Contact Orders (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50C); and
  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders (N.C. Gen. Stat. §50B) (“DVPOs”).

A 50C Civil No-Contact Order seeks to protect victims of sexual assault, stalking, and other harassment, and is the proper Order to seek if you do not have a present or prior personal relationship with your abuser, such as a familial or domestic relationship (detailed further below).

A 50B Protective Order (“DVPO”) is only available if you have a present or prior “personal relationship” with your abuser; such relationships are specified in North Carolina General Statute §50B-1(b) and include:

  • spouses or ex-spouses;
  • person(s) of the opposite sex whom Plaintiff lives or use to live with;
  • family relations such as parent(s), grandparent(s), or child(ren); someone whom the Plaintiff has a child in common with;
  • current or former household members; and/or
  • someone of the opposite sex whom Plaintiff is dating or previously dated. (N.C.G.S. §50B-1(b)).

If you have or previously had a relationship with your abuser as specified under §50B-1(b) you must seek a DVPO rather than a Civil No-Contact Order.

North Carolina’s two-pronged definition of Domestic Violence requires: (1) a present or prior “personal relationship” between Plaintiff and Defendant; and (2) for the Defendant to have committed any one of the following acts against the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff’s minor child:

  1. Attempting to or intentionally causing Plaintiff (or Plaintiff’s minor child) bodily injury;
  2. Placing Plaintiff (or Plaintiff’s minor child, or a member of Plaintiff’s family or household) in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
  3. Continuous harassment of Plaintiff rising to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress upon the Plaintiff; and/or
  4. Committing rape or any sexual offense against Plaintiff (or Plaintiff’s minor child) as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-27.21 through 14-27.33.

If a Plaintiff properly and credibly alleges a personal relationship with Defendant and that Defendant has committed any of the foregoing acts, Courts will generally grant Plaintiff’s DVPO. Such an Order is effective for one year and forbids Defendant from contacting Plaintiff – whether in-person, by phone, email, or by any other means. If Defendant violates the terms of a DVPO, he or she can be charged with a Class A1 Misdemeanor; if convicted of the DVPO violation, Defendant could be sentenced up to 150-days active jail time depending on Defendant’s prior criminal record and the circumstances of the violation.

If you are fear someone with whom you have a present or prior personal relationship with do not hesitate to call the experienced and dedicated attorneys at Apple Payne Law in Kernersville–we are ready to help guide you through the process of petitioning the Court for a DVPO and will zealously represent your interests, defend your safety, and help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family.

In our next post, we will discuss the initial steps in petitioning the Court for a DVPO; in later posts we will summarize the different ways the process may proceed and what you should do if your abuser refuses to obey the Court’s Order and continues contacting you. Click here to read it.

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