If a law enforcement officer serves you an ex parte order, this means that someone filed a complaint of domestic violence against you. This order will include a date for a hearing in which you can defend your case.
A judge will hear from both you and the plaintiff at the hearing. After hearing both sides, the judge determines whether or not to grant a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
What occurs at the hearing
According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, both the plaintiff and defendant are welcome at the hearing, although if the plaintiff does not show, the judge will usually dismiss the request for a DVPO. The plaintiff has the opportunity to describe what happened and present evidence if there is any.
Next, you will be able to defend yourself by presenting evidence, which may include witnesses, communications or documents. The judge then decides whether to grant a permanent order or not. According to FindLaw, a DVPO lasts up to one year, and the plaintiff can request to renew the duration.
Conditions of the order
Whether you have an ex parte order or a permanent one, you must follow the conditions outlined by the judge, which may include:
- Move out of shared residence
- Do not contact, harass or follow the plaintiff
- Attend counseling
- Surrender all firearms
If you have a child with the plaintiff, a judge may also order you to pay temporary child support.
Penalties for violating the order
If you violate the order in any way, but there are no associated criminal charges, the judge can hold you in contempt of court. If the violation relates to a condition regarding firearms, the judge may charge you with a Class H felony, which may include prison time of up to 39 months.