Being stalked or harassed, or being a victim of a sexual assault, can affect every aspect of your life. It can cause problems at work, endanger friends or family members, or cause emotional issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even if you have the offender arrested, you may need the additional protection of a civil no-contact order.
The attorneys at Averett Family Law have extensive experience in protecting crime victims in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Pittsboro, Siler City, Durham, and Wake County.
How may we help?
WHAT IS A CIVIL NO-CONTACT ORDER?
A civil no-contact order (“50C”) is a restraining order intended to prevent unwanted sexual conduct, harassment or stalking. The offender has to be someone you do NOT have a personal relationship with, for example a:
If the person stalking you is a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, roommate or family member, your legal remedy is a DVPO (see our page on domestic violence protective orders (DVPOs) for more information.
HOW DOES A CIVIL NO-CONTACT ORDER PROTECT ME?
In a civil no-contact order, a judge can order the offender to have no contact with you and to stay away from you. The order can state that the offender can’t come to your home, school or workplace. The offender can be prohibited from calling you, texting you, following you, or posting about you on social media. Should the offender violate the order, he or she can be arrested.
WHAT IS STALKING OR HARASSMENT?
To qualify for the order, you have to prove that the offender sexually assaulted you, or is stalking or harassing you. The legal definition of stalking or harassment is:
- A pattern or practice of behavior, (in other words more than one incident)
- with no legitimate purpose
- other than to harass, intimidate or terrify you
- that results in you experiencing severe emotional distress.
Severe emotional distress means more than mere irritation. Examples of evidence of severe emotional distress are lack of sleep, weight gain or loss, anxiety, or depression.
HOW DO I GET A CIVIL NO-CONTACT ORDER?
Typically, you file for a civil no-contact order in the district court in the county where you live. But you may want to file in the county where the offender lives, or in the county where the unlawful conduct took place. An attorney can help you decide where to file for the order. Once you file a complaint asking for a no-contact order, a copy of the complaint is then served on the offender, and the court will schedule a hearing. If you have an emergency situation, the court may issue a temporary order, called an ex parte order, before the hearing. At the hearing, you and the offender will present evidence, and the judge will decide if you are entitled to the order. A civil no contact order can last up to a year. The order can be extended for a longer period if you file a motion before it expires asking that it be extended.
If you want to file for a no-contact order in Orange County, Chatham County, Durham County or Wake County, please contact Averett Family Law. You need an experienced attorney at your side if you want your protective order to be enforceable and effective.