Domestic violence is a growing problem in Charlotte and is punished harshly under North Carolina laws. There are a number of domestic violence crimes that a person could be charged with committing, and one of the most common crimes is Assault on a Female.
Victims of domestic abuse can also obtain a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) against their abuser, which prevents the individual from having any contact with them. This court process is a civil proceeding and can be pursued along with criminal charges against the perpetrator.
At Browning & Long, PLLC, we can assist you if you need a DVPO to protect yourself from domestic violence. We also can defend you if someone has accused you of domestic violence and is seeking a protective order against you.
What Is a Protective Order in a Domestic Violence Case?
A domestic violence protective order is also referred to as a restraining order, a 50B order, or a no-contact order and is specifically designed to protect domestic violence victims. They are different than general restraining orders. The judge who issues a 50B order has the ability to provide for more specific protections for the person being abused. In addition, police officers have the ability to enforce the order, such as bringing criminal charges against the abuser for violating the protective order.
Who Can Obtain a DVPO?
In order to be eligible for a domestic violence protective order, the victim must have a personal relationship with the abuser. What is considered a personal relationship is defined under North Carolina law and includes:
- Spouses and former spouses
- Individuals of the opposite sex who are currently residing together or who have done so in the past
- People who are related as a parent and child or grandparent and grandchild, with the exception against obtaining a DVPO against a child or grandchild under 16 years old
- Persons who have a child together
- Individuals who are current or past household members
- Individuals of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in one in the past
A dating relationship is where the parties have been romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis. While this can involve a same-sex relationship, a same-sex partner is only able to obtain a DVPO if they are or have been household members or are or have been married to the person abusing them.
If a victim was in a personal relationship with the accused, they can request a DVPO if the accused takes any of the following actions against them or their minor child:
- Attempts to cause or intentionally causes bodily injury
- Places the victim or a member of their family or household in fear of imminent bodily harm
- Engages in continued harassment that rises to the level of inflicting substantial emotional distress
- Commits a rape or other sexual offense specified under the law
Two Types of Domestic Violence Protective Orders
In order to obtain a no-contact order, a victim must file a civil petition requesting one. There are two types of DVPOs in North Carolina:
- Ex-parte temporary protective order. An ex-parte temporary protective order is an order that can provide the victim with immediate protection and can be issued right after the petition is filed if the judge finds there is a serious and imminent danger to the victim or their child. This type of order will be in effect for approximately 14 days until a hearing on a permanent order can be held.
- Domestic violence protective order. A final DVPO will only be issued after a court hearing and can protect a victim for up to one year. The order can be extended for an additional two years if the victim requests this before the initial restraining order expires.
Types of Protection a DVPO Can Provide
The judge granting a domestic violence protective order has a number of options that they can include in order to protect the victim. Some of these protections include:
- Prohibiting the abuser from having any contact with the victim or their minor children
- Allowing the victim to remain in the household and ordering the abuser to immediately move out of the home
- Ordering the abuser to stop harassing, following, or threatening the victim or their minor children
- Requiring the abuser to provide the victim with suitable housing
- Giving the victim possession of personal property, such as a car, and only allowing the abuser to take their personal property when leaving the household
- Ordering the abuser to stay away from places requested in the victim’s petition, such as their job or their child’s school
- Granting the victim temporary custody of minor children and ordering the abuser to pay child support
- Requiring the abuser to pay the victim’s attorney fees
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