restraining order attorneyIf someone is the victim of domestic violence, they can contact the police, who will most likely charge the accused person with a domestic violence crime. In addition, the victim could seek a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), which is also referred to as a restraining order, a 50B order, or a no-contact order. This is a civil remedy to prohibit an abuser from having any contact with the victim.

Although seeking a DVPO is a civil action, a violation of this order is not. If a person violates the terms of a restraining order, they could be convicted of a criminal offense and face serious criminal penalties.

Common Violations of a 50B Order

A victim of domestic violence can file a petition to obtain a no-contact order if they have a personal relationship with the accused. Under North Carolina law, former or current spouses, domestic partners, and family members are considered to be in a personal relationship with each other.

If a judge grants a 50B order, they can include many provisions to protect the victim. Here are some protections in a DVPO that are commonly violated:

  • Prohibiting the accused from having any contact with the victim, other household members, and children
  • Granting possession of a residence to the victim and prohibiting the accused from living at or going to the residence
  • Prohibiting the accused from going to the victim’s job, school, children’s daycare or school, or other locations associated with the victim
  • Requiring the accused to pay the victim’s living expenses or child support
  • Prohibiting the accused from threatening, harassing, or following the victim and their children

In some cases, an accused may be trying to abide by the terms of the restraining order, but they are contacted by the accused. It would still be a violation of the domestic violence protective order in this situation.

Penalties for Violating a DVPO

A first offense violation of a 50B order is a Class 1 misdemeanor that is punished by up to five months in jail. However, if this is a third or subsequent violation of a no-contact order, the person could be charged with a Class H felony and be sentenced to prison for up to 39 months. They could also be charged with a Class H felony and face up to 39 months in prison if they were using a deadly weapon when caught violating a restraining order. 

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Howard W. Long, II
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