Do I file a 50B Protective Order or a 50C Civil No-Contact Order?

  1. What is a 50B Domestic Violence Protective Order?

Under North Carolina General Statute § 50B-1, domestic violence means the commission of:

  • Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury;
  • Placing the harmed party or a member of the harmed party’s family or house in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in N.C.G.S. § 14-277.3(A), that rises to a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or
  • Committing any act defined in N.C.G.S. §§ 14-27.21 through 14-27.33

upon a harmed party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the harmed party by a person with whom the harmed party has or has had a personal relationship. Allegations pertaining to a domestic violence protective order cannot be from acts of self-defense.

In order to file a proper 50B protective order, the parties involved must have or have had a personal relationship. Under North Carolina law, a personal relationship is defined as parties that:

  • Are current or former spouses;
  • Of opposite sex who live together or have lived together (applies to same-sex couples as well); (3) are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis (in place of the parent) to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren;
  • Have a child in common;
  • Are current and former household members (applies to roommates as well); or
  • Are persons of the opposite or same sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship.
    • A dating relationship means wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. A casual fling is not a dating relationship.
  1. What is a 50C No-Contact Order?

If none of the above categories in the second paragraph apply to your specific situation, explore whether the acts of the intended defendant would qualify for protection under North Carolina General Statute 50C. Essentially, this means if there was no personal relationship between the parties then the proper action to file is through Chapter 50c.

A Chapter 50C civil no-contact order allows victims of abuse, stalking, or other unlawful conduct (or a resident competent adult on behalf of a minor or on behalf of an incompetent adult who are victims of stalking or unlawful conduct) to seek the protection of a Civil No-Contact Order in circumstances where the domestic violence statutes may not apply.

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50C, the court may issue temporary or permanent civil no-contact orders when there is evidence of abuse and two types of unlawful conduct. However, physical injury is not required to get a 50C order. Under North Carolina law those two types are nonconsensual sexual conduct and stalking. Under N.C.G.S. § 50C-1:

  • Nonconsensual sexual conduct means a person without freely given consent intentionally or knowingly touched, fondled, or sexually penetrated another, either directly or indirectly through clothing, of the sexual organs, anus, or breast of another, whether an adult or a minor, for the purposes of sexual gratification or arousal. Also, that includes the transfer or transmission of semen.
  • Stalking means on more than one occasion, following or otherwise harassing, as defined in N.C.G.S. 14-277.3(A)(b)(2), another person without legal purpose with the intent to do any of the following:
    • Place the person in reasonable fear either for the person’s safety or the safety of the person’s immediate family or close personal associates; or
    • Cause the person to suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment, and that in fact causes that person substantial emotional distress.
      • (Under N.C.G.S. § 14-277.3A(b)(2), North Carolina defines harassment as knowing conduct, including written or printed communication, telephone, cellular, or other wireless telephonic communications, facsimile transmission, pager messages or transmission, answering machine or voice mail messages or transmission, and electronic mail messages or other computerized or electronic transmissions directed at a specific person that torments, terrorizes or terrifies that person and that serves no legitimate purpose.)
  • Abuse means to physically or mentally harm, harass, intimidate, or interfere with the personal liberty of another.
  1. What are the consequences of a 50B Order versus a 50C Order?

First and foremost, an order under both circumstances cannot exceed one year. However, if an order is granted against you, that could lead to criminal charges. Further, anything used or said in the permanent hearings can be used against you in a criminal proceeding.

Additionally, if a 50B domestic violence protective order was granted against you and then you violate that specific order, you can automatically face a class A1 misdemeanor (the highest-class misdemeanor in North Carolina). This means that you can face substantial jail time if found guilty of the violation. On top of that, permanent 50B orders may require you to vacate your home, pay child support or spousal support, and potentially lose child custody or parental rights.

The consequences of a 50C no-contact order are less severe. In a scenario where a permanent no-contact order is issued against you, the court will require you to stay away from the victim’s place of residence, work, or any other areas where he or she attends. If that order is violated, the Judge potentially can issue a fine, jail time, or both.

  1. Should I hire an attorney?

In order to get a permanent civil no-contact order or domestic violence protective order against another individual there needs to be a full court hearing. In those hearings, each side is given the opportunity to present their case to the judge by presenting evidence as to why either order should be issued or should not be issued. Even if the allegations are not true, the Judge will not know that until that hearing is held and each party presents their side. Navigating through this on your own can be difficult to maneuver, taxing on your personal life, and extremely time-consuming.

At Jetton and Meredith, whether you are defending against an order or filing an order, we have handled both situations and have helped hundreds of people obtain the justice they deserve. Call us now for a free consultation at 704.333.1114.