If you’ve been accused of protective order violations in North Carolina or the surrounding areas, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Aden Wilkie. At The Wilkie Law Group, our legal team will help protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for you no matter what. To learn more, give our experienced Jacksonville domestic crimes attorney a call at (910) 333-9626 today.
What is a DVPO?
A civil order protects a petitioner from harm by a family member, household member, someone they share a child with, or someone they previously dated or are currently dating. In North Carolina, this is also called a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) or 50B order.
Both male and female victims are eligible to apply for a DVPO. For a set amount of time, the offender is barred from contacting the victim. A person must cease all abusive behaviors toward the other person per a DVPO. These orders are filed in a variety of scenarios, but are most commonly issued between spouses, partners, and family members.
Generally, the order prohibits contact (directly or indirectly) with the plaintiff, assault, threats, or harassment of the plaintiff or their family. It also prohibits the defendant from possessing any firearms and requires them to turn over any firearms they do own to the sheriff. When a defendant does something they are ordered not to or refuses something they are ordered to do, they are violating the order. For example, if the judge directs the defendant not to contact the plaintiff directly or indirectly and the defendant phones the plaintiff or has a friend do so, the defendant has violated the DVPO. This is a criminal offense.
Protective Order Violations
A variety of safeguards for the victim are included when a judge issues a domestic violence protective order. For disobeying the order, law enforcement can arrest the perpetrator at the scene. A “permanent” protective order in North Carolina can last up to one year, but a two-year renewal is possible.
A protective order is not a criminal conviction, and it is not recorded on the defendant’s record. All records filed in the case, however, are public record. If a person violates a protective order, arrest and a felony charge, such as aggravated stalking, are possible. The following are some of the most common protective order violations:
- The accused cannot contact the victim, any family members, or children.
- Use of a home is granted to the victim and the accused is barred from living in or visiting the home.
- The accused cannot visit the victim’s workplace, school, children’s daycare or school, or other places connected to the victim.
- The accused is responsible for the victim’s living expenses or child support.
- The accused can’t threaten, harass, or follow the victim or their children.
If the accused is contacted by the victim and interacts with them, it is a violation of the domestic violence protective order.
What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order in NC?
A 50B order, also known as a restraining order or a DVPO, is a type of restraining order established specifically for victims of domestic violence in North Carolina. Unlike a conventional restraining order, the 50B order offers victims more protection and gives law enforcement more authority to charge and arrest an abuser who breaches his or her order. As a result, disobeying this order is more than just “contempt of court,” but a major criminal violation with serious consequences, such as:
A DVPO Violation Can Lead To Criminal Penalties
Be careful following the requirements outlined in the order. Criminal penalties are handed down for violations. A protective order is enforceable under Chapter 50B of the North Carolina Statutes. A misdemeanor or felony charge, as well as penalties like jail time, are possible penalties.
A DVPO Violation Can Affect Your Divorce Case
Protective order violations can also put your divorce proceedings under scrutiny. The court looks at the behavior when dividing property and debt, even though North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state.
When setting spousal support, the court looks at past domestic violence offenses as well. So, if you violated a protective order, your spouse has evidence that may help them achieve a more favorable divorce outcome.
DVPOs Can Affect Custody Proceedings
The court considers the child’s best interests when deciding on custody of minor children. The court’s priority is protecting an abused child or spouse when custody issues also include domestic abuse. A broken protective order prompts a court review of the child’s safety. A judge can mandate supervised visits or make an unfavorable ruling about the child’s final custody.
Penalties for Violating a DVPO
A first-time violation of a 50B order is a Class A1 misdemeanor. Just under felony allegations in severity, an A1 charge is the highest level of a misdemeanor offense. It carries a maximum sentence of five months in prison.
There are four felony charges involving DVPO infractions in addition to the misdemeanor violation. These include committing a felony while a restraining order is in effect, being in possession of a deadly weapon and violating the order, entering into a safe house where the protected person lives, and a third instance of violating an order after two misdemeanor violation convictions.
If this is the person’s third or subsequent violation of a no-contact order, he or she might be charged with a Class H felony and face a term of up to 39 months in prison. The same sanctions apply if the accused used a fatal weapon to violate their restraining order.
What Happens if the Victim Violates the Order of Protection in NC?
It’s not considered violating the domestic violence protective order when the person who requested the Order of Protection breaks it. They won’t be arrested or charged with contempt of court if he or she breaches their own restraining order. However, consequences do exist. For example, the defendant can ask for dismissal or modification of the order if the petitioner breaks it.
Violating a Court Order Penalties
An immediate arrest is possible if a court order is violated and the victim reports it to law enforcement. If an arrest does not occur, a magistrate’s office in lower district court can issue a warrant.
In civil court, the other party submits a “move for order to show cause in a DVPO.” If the court rules against the defendant, he or she is in civil contempt, and fines and prison time are possible.
In North Carolina, violating a valid restraining order is a Class A1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 150 days in jail, depending on the person’s prior criminal record. Further violations of the protection order can increase the penalties significantly.
Call Our North Carolina Domestic Crimes Attorney Today if You’ve Been Accused of Violating a Protective Order
It is common for the court to forego a thorough investigation into the claimed violation. If the protective order is issued because of a previous domestic violence charge, it’s not uncommon to see biased prosecutors and courts. That is why it is important that you seek the guidance of a competent North Carolina criminal defense attorney immediately if you are charged with breaking a domestic violence protective order.
Hire The Best
You have a fighting chance against these charges with Jacksonville criminal defense attorney Aden Wilkie defending you. The Wilkie Law Group investigates the circumstances surrounding the arrest and vigorously defends your case in court. Call our legal team today at (910) 333-9626 for a consultation to discuss these allegations and your legal options moving forward.