Helping Clients in New Hanover County Initiate a DVPO or Fight a Violation Allegation
If a person alleges that they have been or may be abused by someone with whom they are in a close relationship, they could seek a domestic violence protection order (DVPO). The DVPO provides relief to the victim by setting conditions and restrictions affecting what the individual the order is sought against can and can’t do. Getting a DVPO involves filing paperwork, attending court hearings, and presenting evidence before a judge. The judge will grant the order if they believe the victim needs protection from the alleged perpetrator. A final DVPO is effective for one year and renewable. If the person named in it violates the order, they could be charged with contempt of court and/or a crime.
At Whitley Coleman, PLLC, we recognize the importance of individuals receiving court-ordered protection from harm or threatened harm. That is why our Wilmington restraining order attorneys deliver compassionate yet aggressive guidance through the process. We help prepare and submit documents to the court and develop and present arguments. Our team also assists individuals accused of retraining order violations in fighting the accusations. Whether seeking to initiate a DVPO or challenging a charge, turn to us for the legal representation you need.
Call Whitley Coleman today at (910) 218-9973 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our restraining order attorneys in Wilmington!
What Does a Restraining Order Do?
A restraining, also known as a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) order, is a legal document issued by a court to protect someone from harm or harassment by another person. The purpose of a restraining order is to prevent contact between the person seeking the order (the petitioner) and the person the order is against (the respondent).
Restraining orders can be used to prohibit a wide range of behaviors, such as:
- Contact: The respondent may be ordered to stay away from the petitioner, their home, workplace, and school and to not contact them by phone, email, or other means.
- Threats and Harassment: The respondent may be ordered to stop making threats, harassing, or intimidating the petitioner.
- Physical Abuse: The respondent may be ordered to stop physically harming or threatening to harm the petitioner.
- Stalking: The respondent may be ordered to stop stalking the petitioner or following them.
A restraining order protects victims of actual or threatened abuse by placing conditions on the defendant. The restrictions and orders rendered will depend on the facts of the case.
The following are examples of terms that may be included in a restraining order:
- Not contacting the plaintiff
- Staying away from the plaintiff’s home, school, and/or work
- Evicting the defendant from a shared residence
- Prohibiting the defendant from threatening, abusing, or harassing the defendant
- Ordering temporary child custody and visitation
- Ordering the defendant to pay child or spousal support
Who Can File for a Restraining Order?
A person may request a DVPO, also called a 50B order, if they are a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, or financial abuse; threats; or harassment against a family or household member.
Family and household members include:
- Former spouses
- Persons who currently or formerly lived together
- Persons who share a child
- Persons of the opposite sex in a dating relationship
How to File For a Restraining Order in North Carolina
If you need to file for a restraining order, in North Carolina, here are the steps you should follow:
- Complete the necessary paperwork: You must fill out a petition for a DVPO, which you can obtain from your local courthouse or online through the North Carolina Court System website. Be sure to include as much detail as possible about the abuse or threat of abuse you have experienced.
- File the petition with the court: Once you have completed it, you must file it with the court clerk in the county where you live or where the abuse occurred. There is no filing fee for a DVPO.
- Meet with a judge: After you file the petition, a judge will review it and may schedule a hearing to determine whether a DVPO should be granted. If the judge determines that you are in immediate danger, they may issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that will remain in effect until the hearing.
- Attend the hearing: If a hearing is scheduled, you will need to attend and present evidence of the abuse or threat of abuse you have experienced. You may also bring witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- Receive the DVPO: If the judge determines that a DVPO is necessary, they will issue an order that outlines the terms of the restraining order, such as the length of time it will be in effect, the prohibited behaviors or actions, and any other conditions.
- Enforce the DVPO: If the abuser violates the terms of the DVPO, you should contact law enforcement immediately. Violating a DVPO is a criminal offense in North Carolina and can result in arrest and prosecution.
It's important to note that the process for filing a DVPO may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have questions or concerns about how to file for a restraining order in North Carolina, you should contact an experienced family law attorney for guidance.
When Can a DVPO be Renewed?
If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, a final DVPO will be granted for a year. The order can be renewed for 2 years at a time.
At every stage in your case, our Wilmington restraining order lawyers can stand by you, advising you of your rights and legal options.
Violations of Restraining Orders
When a judge issues a DVPO, the defendant must abide by all conditions while the order is valid. The requirement applies to both ex parte and final restraining orders.
Violating any of the terms is a crime. The plaintiff may report the alleged violation to the police, who can arrest the defendant and take them into custody on the spot. For violations that are not criminal offenses, the defendant may be held in contempt of court, meaning that they willfully disobeyed the orders of a court. They may also be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor and face charges for the primary offense.
At Whitley Coleman, PLLC, we help individuals challenge accusations of restraining order violations. Our team examines the details to build an aggressive and strategic defense.
Contact Our Wilmington Restraining Order Attorneys Today
If you are in a situation where you feel threatened or harassed by someone, obtaining a restraining order can be an effective way to protect yourself. However, navigating the legal process of obtaining a restraining order can be complicated and overwhelming, so it's essential to seek the help of an experienced Wilmington restraining order lawyer. At Whitley Coleman, we have a team of skilled attorneys who understand the laws surrounding restraining orders and are dedicated to helping our clients obtain the protection they need. If you need assistance with a restraining order, contact us today to get started!
Contact Whitley Coleman today to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our restraining order lawyers in Wilmington!
Jessica WhitleyPartnerJessica Coleman is passionate about helping juveniles and those suffering from mental illness and addiction.
John ColemanPartnerMr. Coleman began his career as an Assistant District Attorney and successfully prosecuted thousands of criminal cases.
Angelica FariasOffice Manager and Senior Legal AssistantAngelica Farias has worked in legal field for eighteen years. She is bilingual and works on all personal injury cases.
Hannah WiggsParalegalHannah Wiggs handles all criminal and civil cases with tenacity, compassion, and a vibrant attitude.
If you are dealing with a violation of your rights, Whitley Coleman, PLLC Law can help. We work as a team to get the best results for our clients. Each case is evaluated to ensure that the best options are explored and that the best decisions are made.
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