In North Carolina, a victim of domestic violence can obtain a domestic violence protective order, also known as a “DVPO” or “50B,” if a person with whom he or she has or has had a personal relationship: (1) attempted to cause bodily injury to the victim, (2) intentionally caused bodily injury to the victim, (3) placed the victim or a member of the victim’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, or (4) stalked or harassed the victim or a member of the victim’s family or household to such a degree as to cause emotional distress.
Obtaining a permanent DVPO involves a two-step process. The first step is to file a lawsuit for a DVPO and, at the time of filing the lawsuit, to ask the court to enter a temporary DVPO. The purpose of the temporary DVPO is to offer the victim immediate protection until a hearing can be scheduled on the entry of a permanent DVPO. When considering whether to enter a temporary DVPO, the court hears only the victim’s side of the case because the temporary DVPO is entered at the same time the lawsuit is filed and because the defendant has not been served with a copy of the lawsuit or given notice of any hearing and is not present in court to offer his or her side of the case. If a temporary DVPO is entered, a copy of the order is given to the Sheriff’s office, and a deputy serves copies of the lawsuit and temporary DVPO on the defendant and removes the defendant from the victim’s home if the victim and defendant are living together and the victim has asked the court to order that the defendant be removed from the home. The second step of the process occurs after the defendant has been served with a copy of the lawsuit when a hearing is held before the court to determine whether a permanent DVPO should be entered. If a permanent DVPO is entered, it is valid for a period of one year, although the victim may ask that it be continued for a longer period of time.
In general, both temporary and permanent DVPOs require that the defendant stay away from the victim and have no communication with the victim. In the event the defendant violates the terms of any DVPO, he or she is subject to immediate arrest and may be charged with a crime.
To learn more about DVPOs, contact Chapel Hill Family Law by phone at (919) 419-1244 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.