What Happens if You Violate a Protective Order in North Carolina?

If you have been accused of violating a restraining order, it is important you take these accusations seriously. You could be found guilty and face serious penalties, including jail time. Understanding what a restraining order is and how you can violate a restraining order can help you avoid doing so. If you have already been charged with violating a restraining order, it is important that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Restraining Orders in North Carolina

A restraining order, or a domestic violence protection order (DVPO), may include several different provisions based on the facts of your case. Restraining orders require a person to follow certain rules and regulations. A restraining order may include several protections required of you, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Ordering you to provide the alleged victim and your children with suitable housing
  • Ordering you to attend an approved drug, alcohol, or domestic violence treatment program
  • Giving the victim possession of shared personal property and household items
  • Ordering your eviction from the shared family home
  • Prohibiting you from purchasing a firearm for a period of time
  • Ordering you to provide financial support for a spouse or your minor children

Restraining orders will also prohibit an individual from contacting the alleged victim. For example, a protective order may also require you to refrain from specific conduct, such as the following:

  • Contacting the victim indirectly or directly
  • Using phone calls or emails to harass the victim
  • Harassing a victim by showing up at their place of work or home
  • Threatening, following, or abusing the victim
  • Abusing a pet
  • Interfering with the victim's life in another way
The Penalties for Violating a Protective Order

Violating a protective order happens when a person violates one or more of the restrictions stated in the protective order. You may be arrested immediately if you are believed to have violated a protective order. The penalties you will face depend on the specific protective order you have been accused of violating. Knowingly violating a protective order is considered a Class A1 misdemeanor when the defendant has not committed another crime in addition to violating the order. The penalties for an A1 misdemeanor include up to 150 days in prison.

If you are convicted of violating a domestic violence protective order and have prior convictions for the same crime, you can face much more severe penalties. Being convicted of a Class H felony can result in up to 39 months in prison, probation, court fees, and attorneys fees. Suppose there has been a protective order issued against you, and you possess, purchase, or receive a firearm, ammunition, or related permits. In that case, you can be convicted of a Class H felony. Finally, if you fail to stay away from a person or place as required by the protective order and you are in possession of a deadly weapon, you can be found guilty of a Class H felony.

How to Defend Yourself Against Charges for Violating a Protective Order

Suppose you have been charged with violating a restraining order. In that case, you have the right to defend yourself. As mentioned above, violating a protective order is considered a criminal offense, and all criminal defendants have the right to an attorney and to dispute the charges against them. The defense you should use depends on the specific facts of your case. You may be able to prove that you did not knowingly violate the protective order.

In other cases, a defendant may be able to prove that the protective order itself was expired and was not renewed. The victim may have falsely accused you of violating the order when you did not take any actions to violate the order. Finally, if you never received notice of the restraining order, you cannot be held responsible for violating it. Consulting with an attorney will help you determine the best legal defense. After reviewing the facts of your case, your attorney can develop a defense strategy to protect yourself, your rights, and your future interests.

Schedule a Complimentary Case Evaluation

You may be concerned about your future if you have been arrested in North Carolina for violating a restraining order. It is important to remember that you still have a legal right to defend yourself. The best way to defend yourself is by hiring an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney in North Carolina who will fight aggressively on your behalf. Do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation.