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North Carolina Domestic Violence Protection Order/Restraining Order Update


In North Carolina “domestic violence” has a specific definition and only certain acts are prohibited. You must have a “personal relationship” to be charged with domestic violence. What constitutes a “personal relationship” is defined by statute and is very specific.

The conduct that constitutes domestic violence are:

(1)  Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury;

(2)  Placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that arises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or

(3)  Committing any act defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-27.2 to 14.27.7 which deals specifically with sexual crimes.

A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case held that domestic violence protective orders (sometimes called restraining orders) were void if it did not contain Findings of Fact or Conclusions of Law. This means that judges were required to write a detailed analysis of what a defendant did to qualify for a domestic violence protective order. This proved to be harmful to defendants and plaintiffs.

The North Carolina legislature changed this domestic violence requirement. Now, two parties can enter into a Consent Protective Order without Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law if the parties agree that none are required. This benefits both parties who may have faced a hearing on evidence that could go either way.

A person charged with domestic violence can now agree to a domestic violence protection order without actually admitting that he or she committed an act of domestic violence. A plaintiff benefits because they can now get the protection that a domestic violence protection order provides without facing the abuser and having a trial.

The new section allows domestic violence protective order entered without Findings of Facts or Conclusions of Law to have the same power and effect as the previous orders. Having a domestic violence or restraining order tried by a judge may not be the only option for a plaintiff or a defendant. It is important to have an attorney that understands the importance and who you trust to fight for your rights and ensure a fair result.