People in an abusive relationship can face constant fear of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse. It can be difficult for victims of domestic abuse to seek help from law enforcement, often out of fear of retaliation from their abuser. Filing for a protective order can help protect victims and their families from abuse. In some counties in North Carolina, filing for a protective order has now been made a little easier by allowing victims to file online.
The courts can issue a protective order after someone is arrested for a domestic violence crime. However, the victim can also file for a protective order if someone has committed domestic violence against them, including causing bodily harm or placing the victim in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. This involves filing an ex parte “domestic violence order of protection” with the court.
Traditionally, the person seeking a protective order would have to take the paperwork to the courts to file the order. This could expose the victim to further abuse if the abuser finds the paperwork and learns of the intent to seek a restraining order. It may also be a barrier to some victims who do not have a vehicle or cannot find a way to get to the court without the abuser finding out.
Some counties in North Carolina are providing electronic filing systems that allow victims to file for protection without going to the courthouse. With electronic filing, victims can go to a local domestic violence service agency that offers e-filing. Electronic filing allows the victim to have their motion heard before a judge through video-conferencing, instead of having to go to court. E-filing also reduces the risk of harm by providing faster service and eliminating the paperwork required to file for protection.
Wake County implemented the system in 2016 and Durham County added electronic filing in 2017. More counties are looking to add a similar electronic filing option for their residents. Thousands of domestic violence protective orders have been filed online since the pilot program began.
A protective order, also called a restraining order, is known as a “50b order” in North Carolina, after the domestic violence statute. A protective order can require the abuser to move out of the residence, avoid contact with you or your family, and require the abuser to surrender any firearms. Individuals file for a temporary domestic violence protective order that lasts for up to 10 days, until going to court to seek a permanent order.
Jerkins Family Law
If you have questions about filing for a domestic violence protective order or enforcing a restraining order, please do not hesitate to call Jerkins Family Law for assistance. Jerkins Family Law is committed to providing the passionate representation you need. We understand the importance of protecting you and your minor child from abuse. Visit our dedicated protective order page and contact us today so we can guide you to a better solution.