The Difference Between a 50B Protective Order and a 50C Protective Order
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Domestic Violence on Monday, August 30, 2021
A protective order – also known as a restraining order – protects an individual from abuse, violence, and unwanted contact. North Carolina has two protective orders: A domestic violence protective order (50B) and a civil no-contact order (50C).
Protective orders 50B and 50C are different in two significant ways:
- Who may file based upon the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant
- Penalties if the defendant violates the protective order
Legally, the person seeking a protective order is called the plaintiff. The person for whom the order is against is the defendant. Individuals under 18 need a parent or guardian to file a restraining order on their behalf. Plaintiffs usually must file for a protective order in their home county. Sometimes, a plaintiff may file where the alleged abuser lives or where the alleged incident occurred.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders (50B)
A domestic violence protective order can only be filed by a plaintiff who has or had a personal, intimate, or familial relationship with the defendant. Plaintiffs include spouses, former spouses, unmarried couples of the opposite sex, couples with a child together, household family members, parents, and grandparents.
Anyone living in North Carolina, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, may file a 50B against a defendant of the opposite sex with whom they had a personal or intimate relationship.
The LGBT community is not protected under 50B at this time but can file a 50C.
Grounds for a Domestic Violence Protective Order
The court recognizes several grounds for issuing a domestic violence protective order, including:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Keeping plaintiff isolated or limits access to money, transportation, or employment
Ex Parte Temporary Protective Order
If the plaintiff believes they are in imminent danger, they can ask for an Ex Parte temporary protective order. A judge or magistrate can issue this type of protective order the same day the complaint is filed without the defendant present.
An Ex Parte temporary protective order is filed within 72 hours or by the end of the next day that the court is in session. An example would be the plaintiff files asking for an ex parte temporary protective order on a Wednesday. If Thursday is a holiday, and the court is not in session on Friday, the ex parte hearing would take place Monday.
Both sides are present for a hearing on whether a longer-lasting 50B should be granted. Both the plaintiff and the defendant may have separate legal representation.
Civil No-Contact Orders (50C)
50C orders, also known as civil no-contact orders, protect from unwelcome sexual conduct and harassment, including harassing phone calls or stalking behavior. An example would be a co-worker or neighbor who continually makes sexual remarks or touches inappropriately. Plaintiffs do not have to have a physical injury to get a 50C order.
Workplace harassment or stalking complaints are filed under the Workplace Violence Prevention Act. Employers or employees named as defendants may lose their right to go to their place of work if the 50C order stands.
What to Expect as a Defendant in a Protective Order
Defendants charged with domestic violence or named in a 50B or 50C against them should understand the severity of these legal actions. The sheriff will serve you as the party named in the protective order. Once you receive this notice, you cannot violate the terms and conditions.
If the sheriff attempts to serve you a 50C either personally or via receipt certified U.S. mail, a notice will be published in the legal section of a newspaper in the same county where filed or where you live. The notice must run once a week for three consecutive weeks.
Consequences of a Protective Order
Under an active 50B, you may have to vacate your home, pay child support or spousal support, and temporarily lose your child custody or parental rights. When a 50C is granted, it could limit where you may go, including public places and your workplace.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Defendant
You will be required to appear in court on the date listed on the Summons. If you do not show up, the plaintiff could get a default judgment against you.
In court, you will hear why the plaintiff feels the need for the order and will see/hear all of their evidence against you. Examples of evidence include pictures of bruises, medical records of treatment received, phone logs, and printouts of text messages.
You may hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing. This is your opportunity to produce evidence and testimony if you believe the plaintiff’s allegations are untrue.
If You Violate the Order
Willful violation of 50B is a Class A1 misdemeanor that will impose prison time and payment of a fine.
Willful violation of 50C is criminal contempt. The judge could reprimand, impose prison time, require payment of a fine, or any combination of the three.
Protective Orders FAQ
Can a Plaintiff Change Their Mind and Drop the Complaint?
Yes, plaintiffs may file a Motion to Dismiss. The court sets a date and notifies the defendant. The plaintiff must attend this hearing and tell the judge why they want to drop the complaint.
What if the Allegations Are False?
If you have been wrongfully accused and served with a protective order, preparing for court is essential. Read the complaint carefully. Find any documentation that will help with your defense. Ask friends, family, and work colleagues who may know the truth to go to court with you to testify.
A Protective Order Lawyer Can Help
If you have a protective order filed against you and are in need of a solid defense, call Randall & Stump Criminal Defense Attorneys. They can fight for your rights and protect you from the negative effects a protective order can have on your reputation. If you have questions, call (980) 237-4579 today for a free consultation.