Carteret County Restraining Order Violation Attorney

If you were recently arrested for violating a restraining order, you should understand the severity of the crime with which you’ve been charged. North Carolina takes these orders seriously, and you could be fined or even jailed for violating them. But just because you were arrested does not mean you are guilty. An alleged restraining order violation is often unsubstantiated. In some cases, they are even fabricated simply to get someone in trouble.

You’re entitled to a presumption of innocence, and at Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we make sure your rights are aggressively defended in court. If you’ve been accused of a restraining order violation, call us right away to clear your name.

Restraining Orders In North Carolina

There are generally two types of restraining orders: the domestic violence protective order (DVPO, also known as a 50B for its location in the statutes) and the civil no-contact order (also known as a 50C).

The main difference between the 50B and 50C is who can ask for which one. The 50B allows victims of domestic violence or threats of domestic violence to ask for a restraining order where they have one of the following relationships with the alleged abuser.

  • Current or former spouse
  • Persons of the opposite sex who live together or previously lived together
  • Related as parents and children or as grandparents and grandchildren
  • Have a child together
  • Current or former household members
  • Persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or were previously in a dating relationship

Note: same-sex couples are not protected to the same extent opposite-sex couples are under current law, but future litigation may change this.

Individuals who have suffered violence or threats of violence from someone who does not fall into one of the above categories can ask for a 50C. This is for someone not in a personal relationship with the defendant, such as a neighbor.

What Do Restraining Orders Protect?

Both of these restraining orders are similar in that they are intended to prevent similar behavior: violence, threats of violence, harassment, and stalking. But each order imposes unique limitations on what the defendant can do. If you’ve been accused of violating either type of order, you should know what actions are prohibited.

DVPO

The DVPO may prohibit you from the following:

  • Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury
  • Contacting or attempting to contact, either directly or indirectly, the other party
  • Visiting the other party’s workplace or residence
  • Having contact with your children
  • Visiting your child’s school
  • Possessing a firearm

An alleged domestic violence victim can obtain a DVPO against you without notice. The party can go to court without you being present (known as an ex parte hearing) and obtain a temporary restraining order. After 10 days, the judge must hold a full hearing and decide whether to extend the temporary order for up to one year.

50C

The 50C order may prohibit you from the following:

  • Physically or mentally harming, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with the personal liberty of the other party
  • Contacting or attempting to contact, either directly or indirectly, the other party
  • Visiting the other party’s workplace, school, residence, or another place where the person is present
  • Stalking the other party

Similar to the 50B, a person can request a temporary 50C order without you being there. At the full hearing, this order can be extended by one year.

Enforcement Of Restraining Orders

Violating a 50B order is a criminal offense. If you are accused of violating a DVPO, the alleged victim can call law enforcement to arrest you on the spot. On the other hand, 50C orders are typically enforced when someone files contempt of court action. Although the court can impose civil penalties, such as a fine, the judge also has the power to put you in jail.

Penalties For a Restraining Order Violation

Violations of DVPOs are typically punished as Class A1 misdemeanors. These are punishable by up to 150 days in jail and a fine. However, you can also be charged with a felony in some cases. For example, you could be facing felony charges if you were convicted twice before of violating the order. You can also be charged with a felony if, while possessing a deadly weapon, you failed to stay away from a place (or the alleged victim) as directed under the terms of the DVPO.

One unique feature of the DVPO is the prohibition on owning or possessing a firearm. If you are convicted of violating the order, you will also be barred from obtaining future handgun purchase permits and concealed handgun permits.

As mentioned above, 50Cs often result in civil penalties. But the alleged victim can ask that you be held in criminal contempt of court and put in jail. In these cases, you will need a criminal defense attorney.

Possible Defenses to a Restraining Order Violation

To be convicted of violating a restraining order, the order must be valid and the violation must be intentional. Orders are usually valid when they go to court, so your defense will likely center on the question of whether the alleged violation was intentional. If the order lacks specificity in what conduct is prohibited, this could open the door to a possible defense.

Violations are often alleged when the victim randomly runs into the defendant somewhere in public, like a shopping mall. If you’re arrested after an unplanned encounter like this, you could argue a lack of intent to violate the order. Restraining orders are not intended to prevent accidentally crossing paths with someone you’ve been told to avoid.

Contact Our Carteret County Restraining Order Violation Defense Attorney

Every criminal case is different. We will take the time to fully understand the circumstances in your case so we can build an effective defense. The important thing is to not wait to retain legal counsel. If you’ve been accused of violating a restraining order, Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, is here for you. Call us today.