Know the Laws: North Carolina
UPDATED December 14, 2010
A domestic violence protection order is a civil order that provides protection from someone who you have/had a "personal relationship" with.
One week after court, call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the DVPO from the clerk.
You may also wish to make a safety plan. Women can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe or click the tab on the top of this page.
Violating a DVPO is against the law. There are 3 ways to get help if your abuser violates the DVPO.
NOTE: If you take out a criminal warrant through the magistrate's office and contempt papers through the civil court system based on the same events, contact the district attorney's office before either hearing to discuss punishment options.
*NCGS § 50B-4.1
**NCGS § 50B-4(a)
To modify or change your order, go back to the court where you got it and file a petition with the clerk. You can then ask the judge to extend/renew your order for up to two years at a time with the exception of custody provisions which can only last for up to one year.*It is often helpful to request this renewal at least 30 days before your order expires to make sure there is adequate time for a hearing to be scheduled and conducted.
If you move within North Carolina or to any other state in the US, your order will still be valid and good.
Federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. For example, some states require you to register your order in the new state. You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area. NC does not require that orders be registered from another state. You do not need to register your order if you move to a different county within NC either.
To read more about how to get your NC protective order enforced in another state, or how to get an out of state protective order enforced in NC, please see our Moving with a Protective Order page.
You can also contact the battered women’s program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders.
If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111) for information on enforcing your order there.
Note: Civil protective orders may not be enforceable on military bases, and military protective orders may not be enforceable off base. Please check with your local police department, court clerk, and/or domestic violence advocate for more details. Please see our Military Info page for more information.
Victims of sexual assault or stalking have a legal right to get an immediate protective order. This is called a civil no-contact order.
This civil no-contact order is similar to the domestic violence protective order because it is designed to prevent attackers or harassers from stalking you, showing up at your workplace or contacting family members.*
With a civil no-contact order, however, you can get an order against a stranger or acquaintance that is stalking or harassing you - you do not have to have a "personal relationship" with the person as required by the DVPO.
Note that if you have had a "personal relationship" as explained in the DVPO laws above, then you cannot get a civil no-contact order. You must file for a DVPO if you seek this type of protection and you have the “personal relationship” as explained in the DVPO laws above.
The procedures for a civil no-contact order are similar to the DVPO procedures outline above, but you will need the correct forms. Links to these forms are available on our Download Court Forms page.
*NCGS § 50C-5