No-contact orders are similar to domestic violence protective orders, but they apply to circumstances where the victim and perpetrator do not have a “personal relationship.” They are also referred to as “50C” orders after the chapter of the North Carolina General Statutes governing such an order.
A no-contact order provides protection to a victim of nonconsensual sexual conduct or stalking from his/her abuser.
Stalking means that on more than one occasion, the perpetrator has followed or otherwise harassed (as defined in G.S. 14-277.3A(b)(2)) the victim without legal purpose and with the intent to either
- place the victim in reasonable fear either for his/her safety or the safety of his/her immediate family/close personal associates, and/or
- cause the victim to suffer substantial emotional distress by placing him/her in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment and that in fact causes him/her substantial emotional distress.
When a victim files a complaint for a 50C, a hearing will be set so that both parties can present his/her case to the judge. If a court finds that the victim has suffered nonconsensual sexual conduct or stalking, the court may issue a temporary or permanent civil no-contact order. An order may include any of the following types of relief:
- Order the respondent not to visit, assault, molest, or otherwise interfere with the victim.
- Order the respondent to cease stalking the victim, including at the victim’s workplace.
- Order the respondent to cease harassment of the victim.
- Order the respondent not to abuse or injure the victim.
- Order the respondent not to contact the victim by telephone, written communication, or electronic means.
- Order the respondent to refrain from entering or remaining present at the victim’s residence, school, place of employment, or other specified places at times when the victim is present.
- Order other relief deemed necessary and appropriate by the court, including assessing attorneys’ fees to either party.
No-contact orders can be entered for a fixed time up to one year.
For good cause, a court can renew the order for a fixed period not to exceed two years.
A knowing violation of a no-contact order is punishable as contempt of court which may result in a fine or imprisonment.
If you need assistance in obtaining or defending a no-contact order, call our law office today.