When you’re served with a North Carolina protective order, it can be a confusing and frustrating experience. After all, what does it mean to have a protective order filed against you for domestic violence? And what are your options?
Here is what you need to know about North Carolina protective orders and what you should do if you are served with one.
What Is a North Carolina Protective Order?
Most people refer to protective orders as retraining orders, but, under the law of the state, there are basically two types of protective orders you can be served, which are:
Domestic Violence Protective Order
This is a protective order that is filed by someone considered under the law to be a household or family member. This includes those to whom you have been married or currently are married, anyone with whom you share a child, a roommate, or another family member, such as a parent or child.
Civil No Contact Order
This is filed by someone who has no relationship, past or present, with the person named in the order. It often covers those who are accused of behaviors such as harassment and stalking.
How You Get a Protective Order
People file for protective orders with the court. A judge listens to their story and then issues a temporary protective order in certain circumstances against the person named in the petition.
This is called an “ex-parte order” and is meant to last only a short period of time, mainly because the person named in the order wasn’t able to defend themselves in court against the allegations.
When you get served a protective order, you will receive a copy of the order and filing and a summons for a hearing. You also receive instructions that include these important steps, which you should take right away:
- Surrender any firearms you own to the local sheriff
- Stop contact with the person who filed the order
- Leave the home you share with the person who filed the order if that’s the situation
- Follow any temporary custody arrangement for children according to the order
- Stay a specified distance from the accuser at all times
What Should You Do If Served with a Protective Order?
A law enforcement officer will come to you to serve a protective order. When this happens, it’s normal to feel shocked or upset, but try to let logic prevail. Never contact the accuser to try and understand the charges – you’ll have your day in court to defend yourself.
You should do these things in the event that you are served with a protective order:
Regardless of how you feel, stay calm and follow any instructions provided to you by the law enforcement officer. Never argue or refuse to leave since that could lead to additional charges and will not help your case in the long run.
Never contact the person who accused you in order to explain yourself. The order does not allow any type of contact between the two of you, and attempting to contact them is a violation of the order. This can put you in legal jeopardy, so it’s best to follow the guidelines set by the order whether you agree with them or not.
Get an Attorney
You need representation to ensure your rights are upheld. Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can to help make your case.