Whether it’s a complaint of Domestic Violence or some other legal filing or formal lawsuit, Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina are taken seriously by District Court Judges and the attorneys who provide legal representation for those type of cases. You should too.
After being found not guilty of criminal charges, former United States Secretary of Labor, Ray Donovan, once quipped, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” Getting your reputation back, after false allegations of domestic violence, can be difficult indeed.
There can be longterm consequences for even allegations of domestic violence, both for civil court or criminal court matters. Unlike criminal charges after dismissal or “not guilty” verdict, the allegations within a civil lawsuit cannot be purged or expunged. The damage caused to your reputation for the entry of a 50B Order for Domestic Violence can be significant, making it difficult to enter the military or even keep a good job.
Clearly, there is a social stigma associated with Domestic Violence. Our Domestic Violence Lawyers are here to help.
Restraining Orders are normally filed in civil court. The Burden of Proof or persuasion is on the Plaintiff. It is not to the legal standard of Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. That is the highest level of proof and is reserved for criminal charges in North Carolina. The standard of proof is substantially lower in civil court. And unlike criminal court, there is not a finding of “guilty” or “not guilty” for a Domestic Violence Protective Order. The Court enters an Order, essentially either granting the Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order or dismissing the Complaint.
Under the NC Rules of Civil Procedure, any request for Restraining Order must be supported by sufficient facts and allegations. In North Carolina, the legal filing is formally known as a “Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order.” Download sample Complaint here.
Most protective orders are sought, at least initially, on an Ex Parte basis, meaning many DVPO in North Carolina are granted without hearing from both parties first.
“We’re used to seeing accompanying criminal charges such as Assault on a Female, interference with 911 communications, assault and battery, and communicating threats with Domestic Violence legal issues. We’re often facing a battle on two fronts, first in civil court and later in criminal court, depending on how the cases are calendared for trial.”
– Bill Powers
The Plaintiff is the person filing the Complaint in North Carolina against the Defendant. Depending on the individual facts and circumstances of a case, the Plaintiff’s allegations may complain the Defendant committed the following acts against the Plaintiff, family, or members of the household:
- Defendant caused bodily injury
- Defendant attempted to cause bodily injury
- Defendant placed me in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- Defendant harrassed me and caused emotional distress
- Defendant committed an Assault and Battery / Assault on a Female
- Defendant committed a Sex Crime or Sex Offense
A Domestic Violence Order of Protection must include “findings of fact” and “conclusions of law.” The Court may find things like:
- The Defendant committed acts of domestic violence against the plaintiff
- The defendant has committed acts of domestic violence against the minor children residing with or in the custody of the plaintiff.
- There is danger of serious and immediate injury to the plaintiff. the minor children.
- The defendant’s conduct requires that he/she surrender all firearms, ammunition and gun permits.
Of course, the Court may also rule in favor of the Defendant, finding:
“The plaintiff has failed to prove grounds for issuance of a domestic violence protective order.”
The Court is given wide discretion in awarding “relief” upon finding acts of domestic violence took place and the Plaintiff has proven his or her case against the Defendant. In addition to refraining from “future acts of domestic violence,” the Court may Order, among other things, the Plaintiff remain in the residence, thus excluding the Defendant from the residence.
Download a sample Domestic Violence Order of Protection here.
What is a 50B? Where are Motions for Domestic Violence Protective Orders Heard in Mecklenburg County?If you have questions about Domestic Violence Protective Orders in Charlotte NC in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding judicial districts in Monroe NC in Union County, or Statesville NC in Iredell County, call our criminal defense and family law attorneys now: 704-342-4357