Here’s Why You Should Always Follow a Protective Order

By Joel Hancock

If a protective order for domestic assault has been filed against you, you may be extremely hurt, angry, confused, and wonder what to do next. You may think that the order is inappropriate or uncalled for, you may even think that the individual who filed it lied about what happened and that it is unnecessary. Here’s what to know about protective orders and why it’s imperative that you file one once it’s been filed – no matter how you feel about it.

Types of Protective Orders

There are two types of protective orders:

  1.  Ex parte; and 
  2. Permanent. 

Ex parte orders allow you the opportunity to present a defense to the order. But regardless of the type of order, never violate it. There are serious consequences if you do.

Ex Parte Order vs. Permanent Order

Under North Carolina law, an alleged victim has the ability to request that a protective order be put in place immediately. Should that immediate order be approved by a judge, it is considered ex parte, or temporary. It will be in effect until the date of a hearing at which the plaintiff, or alleged victim, and the defendant, the person subject to the order, can present their sides to the judge. If the judge sides with the defendant the order is dropped, but if the judge sides with the plaintiff, the order becomes permanent. However, it’s important to note that a permanent protective order is not, in fact, permanent. Generally, a permanent order stays in effect for up to one year. 

What Does a Protective Order Prevent or Require?

When a protective order is filed, a judge has the right to decide what the defendant is allowed to do, what he or she is precluded from doing, and what he or she must do. For instance, a judge can file an order that requires that:

  • The defendant has no contact (of any kind) with the plaintiff;
  • The defendant must move out of the residence they share with the plaintiff;
  • The plaintiff has temporary custody of any children; and/or
  • The defendant stays a certain distance from the plaintiff’s place of work, school, or home residence. 

As mentioned, the defendant is required to follow all parts of the protective order until it expires – unless it is renewed by a judge. 

What Are the Consequences of Violating a Protective Order?

It’s important to note that a protective order will not appear on the defendant’s criminal record. However, if the defendant violates the order in any way, it may result in a criminal arrest. Under North Carolina law, a first violation of a protective order is a misdemeanor, with any subsequent violation considered a felony. This can result in a steep fine or even jail time. 

Joel Hancock at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Help Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Hit with a Protective Order

If you have been hit with a protective order that you don’t believe you deserve, you may have options. If an ex parte order of protection has been filed against you, you have the right to defend yourself and prove your innocence. Your best bet of doing so successfully is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will fight on your behalf. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you to fight this order. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.