What You Should Know About Domestic Violence and Protective Orders
Many domesticviiolence statistics are self-reported, so their reliability is something of a question mark. This one is absolutely verifiable and also absolutely chilling. Nearly half of all female homicide victims are killed by a current or former male intimate partner. So, no matter which way you color it, domestic violence is a serious problem in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Contrary to popular myth, a protective order is not merely a piece of paper. Instead, it’s perhaps the best deterrent to domestic violence. As outlined below, it’s also one of the easiest deterrents to obtain.
However, in most cases, protective orders are no longer available for the asking. Judges are especially hesitant to grant separate protective orders if a related proceeding is currently pending in family court, whether it’s in Carteret County or another jurisdiction. Additionally, defendants have just as many legal rights in these situations as alleged victims. Therefore, whether you need a protective order or need to block such an application, you need a Beaufort family law attorney in your corner.
What is Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
About 90 percent of domestic violence cases involve husbands and wives, or estranged spouses. So, the broad definition of domestic violence in North Carolina (any two people who have, or recently had, a “personal relationship”) doesn’t come up too often. However, it does come up in the context of dating violence, specifically teen dating violence.
Statistics indicate that most girls are willing to accept a certain level of relationship violence, mostly because they don’t think they can do anything about it. A protective order shows them that no level of relationship violence is acceptable and they can do something about it.
Additionally, the defendant must be guilty of the following conduct, at least according to the alleged victim or another person who files the application:
- Intentionally caused, or attempted to cause, bodily injury
- Placed someone in the house in imminent fear of serious bodily harm
- Continual harassment which caused emotional distress
- Committed a sex crime
Victims who didn’t have a personal relationship with a stalker or other harasser may be eligible for a no-contact order, a similar kind of protection.
Ex Parte Orders
A judge could grant an ex parte protective order based solely on the victim’s affidavit. If the judge isn’t convinced that the victim, and/or the victim’s child, is in serious, immediate danger, the judge must hold a hearing within seventy-two hours. Most likely, the defendant will not have notice of this hearing. So, a hearing ex parte order is effectively a delayed ex parte order.
Most states don’t have that temporary hearing provision. If a judge initially denies an ex-parte order, the alleged victim must wait until the full hearing on the full protective order.
All ex-parte orders are normally valid for ten days. They are legally enforceable as soon as the defendant is served with a copy of the order. This order can forbid the defendant from assaulting, threatening, abusing, following, harassing, or interfering with the victim and his/her children in person, at work, on the telephone, or by any other means.
Final Domestic Violence Protective Order/DVPO/50B Order
These orders usually last a minimum of one year. The judge may extend it for up to two additional years. In addition to the anti-violence provisions in an ex parte order, a final protective order may also contain the following provisions:
- Excluding a defendant from a shared residence, even if the defendant’s name is on the lease or deed.
- Commanding the defendant to provide alternative housing for the alleged victim (police assistance is available for this bullet point and the previous one if necessary).
- Awarding exclusive possession of a motor vehicle and other property to the victim.
- Ordering the defendant to avoid the victim’s job, children’s school, and other public places.
- Protection for the victim’s pet.
- Granting temporary custody of minor children to the victim.
- Ordering the defendant to pay financial support.
- Requiring the defendant to surrender their own firearms.
- Ordering the defendant to attend anger management or other class.
Additionally, the judge may enter all other orders that s/he considers reasonably necessary.
Things are a bit more complex if the defendant has fled the state by the time the alleged victim starts the protective order process. Generally, an order is still available if the defendant has a substantial connection to North Carolina and at least one violent act allegedly occurred in the Tarheel State.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Carteret County Attorney
Both parties have legal rights in broad protective order proceedings. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Beaufort, contact Schulz Stephenson Law. Convenient payment plans are available.