Protective Order Hearing
Restraining orders in North Carolina are referred to as domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs or 50-B orders). A court will typically issue these orders to protect a person who has already been an alleged victim of domestic violence or fears they will become a victim.
These orders may or may not be issued at the same time as criminal domestic violence charges, but the burden of proof necessary to obtain a DVPO is much lower than what is required for a criminal conviction. Because most judges prefer to err on the side of caution, an alleged victim can often obtain a restraining order when the alleged offender does not adequately defend her rights.
Raleigh Protective Order Hearing Lawyer
If you have received a summons regarding a DVPO hearing, it is important to take the potential ramifications very seriously. Even if the alleged victim has told you that she wants to drop the case or will not have legal representation, you should still seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Coolidge Law Firm defends clients all over Wake County, including Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, and Wake Forest. Let our firm review your case and help you understand your legal rights by calling (919) 239-8448 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Information on North Carolina Protective Orders
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Who Can Get Protective Order Hearings in Wake County
North Carolina law defines domestic violence as either an attempt to cause bodily injury, intentional causing of bodily injury, causing fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, or any one of a number of sexual assault offenses by an alleged offender upon an alleged victim with whom he has a personal relationship. Men and women can both be considered alleged offenders in domestic violence cases, and North Carolina General Statute § 50B-1(b) includes the following parties as examples of personal relationships:
- Current or former spouses
- People of the opposite sex who currently live with or used to live with alleged offenders
- Such relatives of alleged offenders as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, and others acting in loco parentis to minor children
- People with whom alleged offenders have children in common
- Current or former household members
- People of the opposite sex who are or were in dating relationships—meaning parties who are or were romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship—with alleged offenders
While state law specifically mentions “the opposite sex” in some of these instances, it is important to understand that these charges can still apply to same-sex couples in which an alleged offender lives with, lived with, or is or was married to the alleged victim.
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Types of North Carolina Protective Order Hearings
There are two different kinds of protective orders in North Carolina: temporary and permanent. These two types of orders involve different hearings:
- Ex Parte or Emergency Hearing — Under North Carolina General Statute § 50B-2, an alleged victim can seek emergency relief if he believes there is a danger of serious and immediate injury to himself or a minor child. If the alleged victim cannot obtain the emergency order on the same day, the clerk of superior court will schedule an ex parte hearing with the district court division of the General Court of Justice within 72 hours of the filing. The court only considers the alleged victim’s side of the story and evidence presented during an ex parte hearing, and this order will protect the alleged victim until the final hearing. The alleged offender could also be required to surrender her firearms, machine guns, ammunition, and permits.
- Permanent Order Hearing — This is the DVPO hearing in which the alleged offender has the opportunity to present a defense. The alleged victim will often be accompanied by either a victim's advocate or a court-appointed attorney—possibly both. There are a number of very broad provisions that the court will consider during the DVPO hearing that can drastically affect numerous areas of the alleged offender’s life. If the court issues a final protective order, it will last up to one year. However, the alleged victim can ask the court to renew or extend it for up to two years at a time, and he may do this more than once.
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Possible Consequences of Protective Order Hearing in Wake County
If the court grants a DPVO, it may order the alleged offender to do several things. Under North Carolina General Statute § 50B-3, some of the forms of relief that could be given to the alleged victim under a protective order include:
- Direct the alleged offender to refrain from acts of domestic violence
- Grant possession of the residence or household to the alleged victim and prohibit the alleged offender from the residence or household
- Require the alleged offender to provide a spouse and her children suitable alternate housing
- Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights
- Order the eviction of the alleged offender from the residence or household and assistance to the victim in returning to it
- Order the alleged offender to make payments for the support of a minor child
- Order the alleged offender to make payments for the support of a spouse
- Provide for possession of personal property of the parties, including the care, custody, and control of any animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household
- Prohibit the alleged offender from threatening, abusing, or following the alleged victim, harassing the alleged victim by telephone, visiting the home or workplace, or other means, cruelly treating or abusing an animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household, or otherwise interfering with the other party.
- Award attorney's fees to the alleged victim
- Prohibit the alleged offender from purchasing a firearm for a time fixed in the order
- Order the alleged offender to attend and complete an approved abuser treatment program
- Any additional prohibitions or requirements the court deems necessary to protect the alleged victim or any minor child.
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Find the Best Protective Order Hearing Lawyer in Raleigh
Have you been notified about an upcoming protective hearing because of alleged domestic violence? You should speak to a knowledgeable and hard-working criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Coolidge Law Firm fights to protect the rights of clients throughout the greater Wake County area, including such communities as Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Morrisville, Wendell, Zebulon, and many more. Call (919) 239-8448 right now to set up a free legal consultation that will let our firm review your case and see how we can help.