North Carolina provides two basic types of protective orders; a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order and a 50C No-Contact Order.
There are two requirements under North Carolina law in order for a victim to obtain a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order. First, a certain relationship must exist between the two parties. North Carolina General Statue §50B-1(b) states that parties must be current or former spouses, have a child together, currently share or have formerly shared a household, have a parent-child relationship, or are currently or were formerly in a dating relationship with each other. Second, statute §50B-1(a) provides that the defendant must cause, or attempt to cause, bodily harm to the victim, or place the victim, or a member of the victim’s household, in fear of serious bodily harm or continued harassment.
If the parties meet these two requirements, a victim can petition the court for a 50B protective order. Emergency 50B Domestic Violence Protective Orders are available for victims who may need immediate legal protection. In this case a formal hearing will be held within 10 days of the issuance of the emergency order. Under North Carolina General Statute §50B-3(b) Domestic Violence Protective Orders are issued for a fixed period of time and do not exceed 1 year; however, the order may be renewed, but the renewal may exceed 2 years.
For victims who do not meet the requirements for a 50B order, it may be possible for them to receive a 50C No-Contact Order. There is no prerequisite relationship that must exist between the parties to obtain this order. North Carolina General Statute §50C-2 only requires that a person be the victim of unlawful conduct, which includes stalking and non-consensual sexual acts.
If a victim meets the requirement for a 50C No-Contact Order, the victim can petition the court for a temporary or permanent order. Temporary orders are generally issued when immediate protection is needed. If a temporary order is issued, a hearing will be held within 10 days to determine if a permanent order is needed. Under North Carolina Statue 50C-8 a permanent No-Contact Order may not exceed one year in duration.
There is also a difference in the remedies available for violation of the two orders. If a defendant violates a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order under North Carolina General Statute §50B-4.1, they may be immediately arrested and are guilty of a misdemeanor. However, North Carolina General Statute §50C-10 states that a defendant is guilty of contempt of court if a violation of a No-Contact Order occurs.
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