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Legal Information: North Carolina

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 22, 2023

What is a civil no-contact order for victims of registered sex offenders?

A civil no-contact order for victims of registered sex offenders, also known as a “50D order,” is a life-long court order that aims to protect you from an abuser who was convicted of a crime that requires registration on the sex offender registry.1

1 NCGS § 50D-1

Who can get a civil no-contact order for victims of registered sex offenders?

If you are the victim of a sex offense, or certain other non-sexual offenses, that occurred in North Carolina or a similar crime in another state, you may be eligible for a 50D civil no-contact order if:

  • The abuser was convicted of the offense; and
  • The criminal offense requires registration on the sex offender registry.1

You may also be able to file on behalf of a minor child or an incompetent adult who is a victim of registerable sex offense.2

1 NCGS §§ 50D-2(a)(1); 14-208.6(4)(b)
2 NCGS § 50D-2(a)(2), (a)(3)

What crimes could qualify me for a 50D civil no-contact order?

Most of the crimes that require registration are sexually violent crimes, including forcible rape of an adult or child, statutory rape, sexual battery, and sexual exploitation of a minor.  Other crimes are sexual in nature, but not necessarily violent, such as felony peeping. Certain non-sexual offenses against a minor also require registration, including kidnapping, felonious restraint and abduction of a child by a non-parent.1 You can read more about which crimes require registration by reading the language of NCGS § 14-208.6 on our Selected North Carolina Statutes page or by looking at the chart created by the University of North Carolina School of Government

Note: You may also be eligible for a 50D order if the abuser was convicted in another state or in federal court of an offense that is significantly similar to the registerable offenses in North Carolina or if the offense requires registration in the state where the abuser was convicted.2

1 NCGS § 14-208.6(4)(a), (5)
2 NCGS § 14-208.6(4)(b), (4)(c)

How long does a civil no-contact order for victims of registered sex offenders last?

The order is permanent and can last forever.1

1 NCGS § 50D-1

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.