If you are a victim of domestic violence, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to get a 50B, also known as a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). One way you’re protected is that law enforcement can enforce a DVPO if the abuser violates it. So, what exactly does a 50B restraining order include? Keep reading to find out what a restraining order can do to help you feel safe again.
What is a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO)?
If you’re considering a protective order, you may wonder if your situation would even qualify. You may worry that getting restraining orders could make things worse. And you may have children you also need to protect.
However, your situation is not going to resolve on its own. You’ll need to take action and use the court system to your advantage to protect yourself and your family. Speaking the truth to those who can help is part of finding the protection you need.
A 50B or DVPO is a type of civil restraining order asking officers of the law to help protect you and any children. It places limitations on what an abuser can legally do.
You can start the process of taking care of yourself by understanding exactly what domestic violence is.
North Carolina law has a legal definition of domestic violence that includes acts of:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury
- Intentionally causing bodily injury
- Placing you or your child in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- Sexual offenses such as rape or sexual assault, or battery
- Continued harassment and stalking if it’s causing you substantial emotional distress
When you understand the legal definition of domestic violence, it becomes clear that protective orders are essential for your safety. As a survivor of these abusive acts, taking precautionary measures is necessary to guard yourself from an abusive person.
If You’re in a Personal Relationship
According to North Carolina law, domestic abuse only happens when a specific type of personal relationship exists.
The legal definition of a “personal relationship” in our state is:
- Current or former spouse
- Persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together
- Someone you’re related to as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren. However, you can’t get a 50B against a child or grandchild under the age of 16
- A person you have a child in common
- Current or former household members
- A dating relationship where you’re romantically involved over time. A casual acquaintance in a business or social context is not a dating relationship
No one should have to face abuse in an intimate relationship. When another person is violating your sense of safety, a protective order can help you begin the process of removing yourself and any children from the ongoing danger.
If you’re facing violence or harassment from someone you’re not in a legally personal relationship with, talk with your attorney about obtaining a 50C restraining order. A Civil No-Contact Order (50C) protects you from others threatening continued harassment such as stalking or sexual assault.
How Domestic Violence Protective Orders Keep You Safe
If you are a person dealing with domestic violence, the law provides life-affirming legal protections for you and your family through obtaining a DVPO. These may include:
- Ordering an abuser to have no contact with you, any minor children, and other family or household members
- Giving you possession of the home and excluding the abusive partner
- Awarding you temporary child custody
- Ordering eviction of the abusive partner from your residence
- Assistance for you to return home
- Ordering abusive partner to pay temporary child support for minor children (if required by law)
- Giving you possession of the combined personal property
- Giving you temporary physical custody of a pet or minor child
- Awarding you attorney fees
- Ordering additional requirements necessary to protect you and others
- Prohibiting the abusive person from purchasing a firearm
- Ordering sheriff to deliver protective order to kids’ school principals
- Ordering the abusive partner to attend and complete an abuser treatment program approved by the Domestic Violence Commission
These are just some of the ways a 50B DVPO can provide safety for those facing domestic violence. Getting a domestic violence protective order can enable you to move forward without fear of harm.
Obtaining a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order
As someone seeking relief from abuse, you begin by filing a domestic violence protective order complaint against the other party. This is different than filing criminal charges.
If you ask for emergency help due to immediate danger to you or any children, the judge will meet with you in an ex parte hearing. You can let the judge know your emergency protection needs in this hearing. The defendant (abusive person) is not present for this ex-parte hearing.
If the judge hears your testimony and grants the ex parte order, you receive immediate protections. An emergency (ex parte) DVPO may require an abusive person to:
- Leave their home (regardless of who pays rent or mortgage)
- Stay away from their own children
- Give up possession of a motor vehicle
- Surrender their “firearms, ammunition, and gun permits” to the sheriff. If the defendant violates the firearms portion of the order, officers can arrest them and bring charges for various felonies.
If the ex parte order is granted, the sheriff will serve the abusive person with the immediate protective order.
The court will schedule a hearing whether the judge grants immediate relief for you or not. This hearing is a bit like a trial in that you and the abusive individual will both have a chance to plead your case before the judge. At the DVPO hearing, the judge will either grant your protective order or dismiss the case.
If granted, a DVPO can last up to one year. After that, you can renew the order for another year if you need to. You’ll have to file paperwork and go through the same process as you did for the original order.
If you are in immediate danger from a domestic violence abuser, speak with an experienced DVPO attorney to file an ex-parte order. This will help ensure your safety and the safety of any minor children involved.
Our Experienced DVPO Attorneys Can Help
Don’t hesitate to start your journey toward finding the protection you need. We all deserve to feel safe!
At Cape Fear Law, our experienced domestic violence lawyers can help you file a 50B DVPO or ex parte emergency order and also gather and present evidence for hearings. It’s crucial to talk with an attorney or other counselor to understand your grounds for a 50B.
Our experienced attorneys represent you at any hearings and walk you through the entire process. Get in touch and find out how we can help you!