Prosecuting Restraining Orders
There are two types of restraining orders available in North Carolina.
- 50-B Domestic Violence Protective Orders
- 50-C Civil-No Contact Orders
50-B domestic violence protective orders are available when a plaintiff has a personal relationship with the defendant, such an order is commonly called a “50-B” in reference to the statute that authorizes the relief for a plaintiff.
50-C civil no-contact orders are reserved for victims of stalking, unwanted sexual contact, or ANY unlawful conduct in North Carolina, such an order is commonly called a “50-C” in reference to the statute that authorizes the relief for a plaintiff.
Reasons to Prosecute
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can seek a 50-B that first and foremost orders the defendant to stop his or her abusive behavior, and to stop all contact with you. The order may also restrict the defendant from going to your place of work or school, your children’s school or daycare, anywhere you seek shelter, and from possessing or purchasing a firearm. It also has the power to award child custody (for up to one year), temporary child support, and temporary spousal support. Furthermore, a 50-B can transfer possession of a residence, vehicle, or pets among other things.
If you are the victim of harassment, stalking, unwanted sexual contact, or any other unlawful conduct by another person, and if you do not have the required personal relationship with the defendant, a 50-C restrains the defendant from continuing their unlawful conduct or contact with you. A 50-C does not have the power to award possessions, award money, or remove of firearms from the defendant.
Protections with 50-B
If a defendant was to violate any of the terms of a 50-B, he or she can face criminal charges. Violating a domestic violence protective order rises to 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.
Protections with 50-C
If a defendant continues to stalk, harass, or otherwise have contact with you while a 50-C in in effect, that defendant can be held in civil or criminal contempt of court. If found to be in contempt of court, a defendant could face financial penalties or even jail time.
Things to Look Out For
A 50-B is not a good substitute for a child custody or child support action. If you have an existing custody order and try to open a 50-B for this purpose, a Court may simply require that you continue following your order, and if there is no custody order in place already, there is no guarantee that the Court will address child custody by opening a 50-B, even if you requested it. Even if the Court were to award you custody of your children in a 50-B, those provisions would expire with the protective order, and they cannot be renewed. A 50-B is also not a good substitute for property disputes, regardless of the relationship between the parties, and regardless of how the property is titled. For example, married plaintiffs who prevail could be awarded possession of a residence, but that does not mean the plaintiff is awarded all of the equity in the residence.
To pursue a 50-C, you would need to make sure that the defendant’s conduct rises to the level of a crime in North Carolina. Common examples of behavior that might result in a victim seeking a 50-C are harassing text messages or phone calls, cyberstalking, or sexual offenses. Many of these types of conduct require multiple occurrences to be a valid reason for a 50-C against another person. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney, such as one at Greenwood Law, to help determine whether a 50-C is appropriate in your specific case.
Get Trusted, Proven Restraining Order Representation
If you are in need of a 50-B or 50-C, or the renewal of such an order, it is important to have the right lawyer. Our attorneys at Greenwood Law have a lot of experience and dedication to provide the right representation. For a 50-B, our lawyers can help to ensure that evidence regarding child custody, financial support, and possession of property is properly presented to the Court in order for the judge to be able to award you the relief you are seeking. In a 50-C, one of our lawyers can help you to determine exactly what unlawful conduct a defendant has committed against you and how best to present evidence of what you have endured to the Court. Contact Greenwood Law by calling 336-794-6138 or contacting us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.