An emergency order for protection under Chapter 50B of the North Carolina general statutes can be issued by a judge even before a person accused of committing domestic violence has the opportunity to defend him or herself. A Chapter 50B order can keep you from your home, from your family, from traveling within a certain distance of the person who accused you of domestic violence, your work (if you work with your accuser) and other places.
A domestic violence protective order can literally change your life before you have a chance to blink.
An ex parte Chapter 50B order is valid for 10 days. If the court does not grant an ex parte order (a stay-away order granted at a hearing for which you had no notice or opportunity to defend yourself), the case must be set for a hearing within 5 days. You will be allowed to defend yourself against domestic violence charges at that hearing. You may also have a lawyer defend you.
If the court decides to issue a protective order after the Chapter 50B hearing, that protective order may be valid for up to one year. Your accuser can then request that the protective order be renewed each year after the hearing.
Violating a Chapter 50B stay-away order is a Class A1 Misdemeanor in North Carolina. You will be arrested by law enforcement if you are found in violation of a protective order (for example, if you are prohibited from entering a home you previously shared with your accuser and you are found on the lawn or inside the home, you can be arrested).
You should not wait to contact an attorney if you know that your spouse, former spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or other parent of your child is seeking an order of protection. An attorney can help you protect your rights at the Chapter 50B hearing as well as deal with any criminal charges that may result from the accusations of domestic violence.