The first step in obtaining a domestic violence protective order (“DVPO”) is filing a complaint with the court and, if needed, applying for emergency protection in the interim before your complaint is heard. A court date will be set for either 10-days after you file or 7-days after Defendant is served with your complaint, whichever is later. At the first court date—if Defendant has been served and both parties are present—either party may request a continuance, or the case will proceed that day. If neither party requests a continuance the case will proceed by: (1) a full hearing before the presiding district court judge; (2) negotiating terms of a consent order; or (3) voluntary dismissal by Petitioner.
In a hearing, the Petitioner testifies under oath about the allegations from his or her complaint. The Defendant can question Petitioner and provide his or her own testimony rebutting Petitioner’s allegations. The Judge—or either party’s attorney—may question the parties and at the close of testimony the Judge decides whether to grant or deny Petitioner’s DVPO.
If a DVPO is granted, the Court has wide authority in tailoring the Order according to each case’s unique needs. A DVPO may include provisions ordering Defendant not to contact Petitioner, not to appear at Petitioner’s residence or place of work, and it can provide temporary child custody and visitation terms. A DVPO is valid for 1-year and Petitioner can seek a 2-year renewal prior to its expiration. If a Defendant violates a DVPO he or she can be charged with a Class A1 Misdemeanor and, if convicted, face up to 150-days in jail depending on his or her criminal record. Alternatively, parties may negotiate a Consent Order rather than undergo a hearing. Our next post will explain how a Consent Order differs from an Order by a Judge. Click here to read it.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and want to discuss your options, call the dedicated and experienced team of family law attorneys at Apple Payne Law in Kernersville today. The attorneys at Apple Payne Law will answer all your questions and can help you make a plan to protect yourself and your family.