Defending Restraining Orders
What to Do If You Are Served with a Restraining Order
If you are served with a protective order, you must follow the terms of that order. If the order requires you to avoid places and people other than the plaintiff, you must do so. If you are served with an order that a judge initially denied, then you do not have to abide by that order until a final decision of the case has been made by the Court. In either event, you will have a court date and you must be present or the protective order could be entered for up to one year without you having a chance to tell your side of the story. Our attorneys at Greenwood Law can help you throughout this process.
Reasons to Defend 50-B’s
A 50-B is one of the most powerful statutes in North Carolina and it can deprive you of substantial rights. It can, among other things, evict you from your residence, prevent you from seeing your children, require you to surrender firearms, require you to financially support the Plaintiff or children, and subject you to further criminal liability in the event that you do not follow the terms of the order.
Important: Possessing a firearm after a 50B Order has been entered against you, can subject you to federal criminal charges.
The entry of a one-year 50-B cannot be expunged from your record. This means that if an order has been entered against you, it could be discovered by current and future employers. This could restrict your job prospects and opportunities for the future.
Limitations of a 50-B
A 50-B can limit many rights that you enjoy. It can prevent you from visiting your child’s school or daycare, keep you from seeing your children, cause you to lose your residence or vehicle, and prevent you from possessing a firearm.
Many provisions of a 50-B, such as those awarding child custody, financial support, or possessions, are temporary. Specifically, child custody can only be awarded for the duration of the initial order, not to exceed one year. Even if the plaintiff is successful in renewing the 50-B, the provisions regarding child custody cannot be extended. Nonetheless, good legal representation by attorneys at Greenwood Law can help limit these restrictions, even if the 50-B is entered against you.
Violations of a 50-B
Once served with the ex parte (initial) 50-B, a defendant may not violate any provisions of that order by contacting the plaintiff or sending messages to them for ANY reason, so long as that order remains in effect. Failure to follow the order could result in criminal charges EVEN IF the plaintiff reaches out to the defendant requesting contact. These criminal charges are the highest level of misdemeanor in North Carolina—an A1 misdemeanor that carries up to 150 days in jail. After multiple violations, the defendant’s charges can be elevated to a felony.
A 50-C will not have the same impact on future job prospects as it is not considered a “domestic violence” protective order. The entry of a 50-C will, however, allow a Plaintiff to bring you back to court for alleged violations of that order, which you will have to defend to a court.
Limitations of a 50-C
A 50-C does not have the power to limit your gun rights or rights to your children and possessions, but it can make your life more difficult. If the person that obtained the 50-C against you is someone that you see regularly, or even just occasionally, such as a co-worker, the 50-C can create obstacles to your daily life, by restricting where you can be and even whom you can talk. You cannot ask other questions about the plaintiff, or send messages to the plaintiff directly or through a third party.
Violations of a 50-C
Contacting a plaintiff who has obtained the protection of a 50-C can result in the defendant being held in contempt of court. If found in contempt, a defendant can find him or herself facing financial penalties or even jail time
Get Representation that will Fight for You
If someone has obtained an ex parte 50-B or 50-C against you, the right lawyer, such as one of our experienced attorneys at Greenwood Law will help you every step of the way. You need someone who will ensure the evidence necessary to defend you is properly presented and available for the Court’s consideration, so you receive a fair hearing. If the protective order has been entered against you after a final hearing, you may still contact us to see if any relief is available to you to set that order aside or seek a new hearing. Orders that can be set aside are few and far between, and we will be forthright with you regarding what we can do to help you. If the plaintiff is seeking to renew a protective order against you, we also can assist you in fighting that renewal. Contact Greenwood Law by calling 336-794-6138 or contacting us online for a consultation.