You may have heard stomach-churning stories about the stressful process of getting a restraining order—and in truth, the courts and legal system do sometimes make the task of getting an order of protection difficult.
When you or your family's safety is on the line, though, there’s no room for error or time to waste—that’s why our attorneys at Doyle Law Offices take the process of filing for a restraining order extremely seriously, helping you build a solid case in a complicated court system to get you the protection you deserve.
Let’s take a closer look at the answer to the question: What proof do you need for a restraining order?
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order, sometimes called an order of protection, is an order issued by the court intended to protect the safety of a person in situations involving harassment, assault, stalking, domestic abuse, or sexual assault. They are meant to stop one party from harming or threatening harm to another.
These orders typically contain clear limits to the ways in which the abuser can contact the victim. They may prevent any form of contact, whether in-person, over the phone, internet, or even via mail. They may also prevent the abuser from coming within a certain distance of a victim. In some cases, a restraining order might include requirements for the abuser to seek out and attend counseling, or turn over any weapons they own.
In North Carolina, there are two types of restraining orders: A domestic violence protective order, and a civil no-contact order.
Filing for a domestic violence protective order, also known as a 50B, requires one of the following to be true:
- The parties are persons who currently live together or have lived together previously
- The parties are related as parents and children
- The parties share a child or children
- The parties are current or former members of the same household
- The parties are persons who are dating or have dated
All other circumstances will require a civil no-contact order, or a 50C, to be filed.
What Proof Do You Need for a Restraining Order?
Filing a restraining order in North Carolina, whether it is a 50B or 50C, will require you to show proof of two things:
- That abuse or harassment has occurred at least once before
- That there is a threat of further abuse or harassment
In North Carolina, citing evidence of stalking, sexual abuse, harassment, or an instance of domestic violence can also be valid grounds for a restraining order.
The petition for the restraining order needs to accurately and specifically reflect these instances, or show grounds for fear of future occurrences. This usually requires the party filing to be very specific in recounting events that have occurred, including detailing the date, location, act of violence or threat, and any witnesses or other evidence that can be called upon.
This can be a re-traumatizing process for many, making the process of filing a petition for a restraining order even more stressful. Having an attorney on your side can help you fill out the paperwork and build your case, handling the brunt of the legal processes and providing resources to make filing a bit more manageable.
What Proof Do You Need for a Restraining Order? — Showing Harm
In order to prove that harm, abuse, or harassment has occurred in the past, sometimes the testimony of the party filing for the restraining order is all that is needed. If the court requires further proof, there are other pieces of evidence that can be cited, such as:
- Witness testimony
- Medical bills or records of medical visits resulting from the injury
- A police report documenting the event and injuries sustained
- Photos or recordings
What Proof Do You Need for a Restraining Order? — Showing Threat of Harm
Proving the threat of harm can be done through similar forms of evidence. Recordings of threats that have been issued, written proof of such threats, witness testimony about these instances, and even a long history of threatening behavior that can be demonstrated may help your case.
How Long Does a Restraining Order Last?
Now that we've answered, "What proof do you need for a restraining order?" we'll now discuss how long a restraining order lasts. The length of time that a restraining order lasts will depend on the type of order you have been granted. Domestic violence protective orders, or DVPOs, are good for up to one year, with the opportunity to renew for up to two years.
A no-contact order can be issued for as little as ten days, or as long as one year, with options to extend the order.
3 Examples of Valid and Invalid Restraining Order Cases
Valid: Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Someone in North Carolina may seek a restraining order against their current or former spouse, partner, or someone with whom they have a child if they have been subjected to domestic violence, or the threat of domestic violence. Domestic violence can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, harassment, or any behavior that poses a threat to the petitioner's safety.
Accompanied by proof of previous harm and threats of future harm, this petition will likely be granted.
Valid: Stalking or Harassment Restraining Order
In North Carolina, a person who is being stalked or harassed by another individual that they do not have a personal relationship with can seek a no-contact restraining order. This could apply to situations where someone is consistently following, contacting, or making threats against the petitioner, causing them to fear for their safety or well-being.
Invalid: Unfounded or False Accusations
If someone seeks a restraining order against another person in North Carolina based on unfounded or false accusations without any credible evidence to support their claims, the court may deem the request invalid.
This is because the courts are careful to only issue restraining orders to protect individuals who genuinely face threats, harassment, or abuse, and they should not be used for malicious purposes, such as to manipulate or harm the accused party without justification. With that said, if you believe you have a valid case, offering tangible evidence to the court, such as photos, videos, or messages can really help you make a case.
Final Word: What Proof Do You Need for a Restraining Order?
When you’re looking for an answer to the question “What proof do you need for a restraining order in North Carolina”, you may be in a situation where your safety, or that of someone you know, is at risk. While you can file a restraining order on your own, an experienced attorney can help make sure that your paperwork reflects proof of valid reasons to issue the order—which means protection can be issued more quickly, in a situation where time is of the essence.
File a Restraining Order via Experienced Attorneys at The Doyle Law Offices
At The Doyle Law Offices, our civil litigation attorneys are available to guide you through the process of filing a restraining order, with law offices in Cary and Wake Forest, and services throughout the greater Raleigh area.
If you have any questions or concerns when it comes to proving grounds for a restraining order or would like to schedule an initial consultation with us, please fill out the contact form below or call us at (919) 228-4487. We'll not only answer, "What proof do you need for a restraining order," but we'll guide you through the process and handle the legal paperwork in an effort to take a bit of the burden off of your plate.