There are two primary types of restraining orders in North Carolina: NCGS 50B and NCGS 50C. If you are the defendant in either type of action, you may want to consider retaining an attorney.
Although both a 50B and 50C are civil actions, there could be collateral criminal consequences. Anything said on the record or any findings by a judge can be used against you in criminal court. This means that if you have a pending criminal case connected to the restraining order, whatever is said in restraining order court can be used to convict you, or to bring charges against you. Therefore, if you do have pending criminal charges, you definitely need an attorney to guide you through the process. The attorney may be able to push the DVPO hearing out past the criminal date, or may advise you to enter into a consent order with no findings of fact.
No findings of fact means that the alleged specific details of what allegedly happened will not be in the order. This helps because the alleged details are not memorialized in a court order that could be used in criminal court.
What if the plaintiff doesn’t show up?
If the plaintiff who brought the 50B or 50C against you does not appear on the designated court date, the case will be dismissed.
What if I don’t show up?
The order may be entered, with findings of fact, against you. There’s a chance it may not be, but without your side of the story, you are at greater risk of losing the case.
What if there are immigration consequences?
If there are immigration issues involved, you definitely need to consult with a criminal attorney who has immigration knowledge or an immigration attorney. Although 50Bs and 50Cs are civil issues, anything on the record could cause problems in the future.
Will there be a trial?
Maybe. If there’s no risk in having a trial (called a “hearing” in DVPO court), then it may be worth it. Sometimes the risk is too great and it makes more sense to enter into a consent order.
The plaintiff is lying. What do I do?
If there are no criminal charges attached, it may be worthwhile to have a hearing. There’s very little to lose at that point. Your attorney may also be able to work out an unofficial agreement between you and the plaintiff where you agree to leave each other alone.
What if I want to take a DVPO out on the plaintiff?
You can do so, without a filing fee, on the fifth floor of the Wake County Courthouse. It’s best to go in the early afternoon, which is when the judges hear ex-parte cases.
How much does it cost to file a DVPO? There is no fee.
What if the ex-parte is not granted?
The judge will give you the option to dismiss the case or set a date for hearing. Generally the date will be beyond ten days because ex-parte orders take precedence.
What is an ex-parte?
Ex-parte, in the context of DVPO court, means the plaintiff went in front of the judge, without the defendant present. This does not mean the defendant will not have a chance to have their side heard — a hearing will be set if a temporary order is granted.
What if the defendant is in jail?
The court should transport them to the courthouse.
There are child custody issues involved. How should I handle this?
If there is a custody agreement pending or already in place, the judge who oversaw that in Wake will likely oversee the DVPO also. If there is no formal custody agreement in place, consult a family law specific attorney for more information.
Will I lose my guns?
Possibly. If a 50B is entered against you, whether by way of consent or by way of order after a hearing, you will likely lose your ability to possess firearms or buy firearms for at least a year.
If you are seeking a defense attorney for a GS 50B or 50C, contact the William Pruden at 919-880-2124.