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  • Writer's pictureJeff Hutchins

50B or Restraining Order

Domestic Violence Defined

Violence and fear of harm are ever present within our society but when it comes from a family member, spouse or loved one, the courts label this as Domestic Violence (DV). The definition is important because your legal and rights change if you are a party to Domestic Violence matter.

Civil (50B) vs Criminal Charges

Two issues always arise when dealing with DV. The first are criminal consequences (charges) and also relief available in civil court (50B)

  • 50(B): a ruling/order by a judge to tell a person to stay away from another person, such as their place or work, other family members and the like.

  • Violation of a 50(B) is a criminal offense.

  • Criminal charges stemming from a 50(B) is labeled as a violation of a DV Protective Order and is the most severe type of misdemeanor (class A1)

Other Ramification of 50(B)

While police officers don’t unilaterally have the right to take your guns, a judge can order it under certain circumstances. These include:

  1. Prior gun threat or violence

  2. Suicidal threats

  3. Serious violence

Child custody may be granted on a temporary basis while the 50(B) is in place.

How Do I Get a 50(B)

Most counties have a program or system in place that help those seeking a 50(B). Normally a civil action is confusing, time consuming and costly. With a 50(B), it is the opposite. It is possible to walk in the courthouse, tell your story and ask the judge to order a person to stay away from you in less than three hours. This ex parte order (only one party presents and talks to the judge) is temporary pending a full hearing. Attorneys call the next hearing a 10-day hearing because the law requires a full hearing to be scheduled within the next 10 days. Only recently, NC courts introduced e-filing for 50(B’s). Call your local court to inquire if this is available in your town.

Full Hearing

If the 50(B) is not dropped, dismissed or consented to by the Defendant then both parties are allowed to provide testimony and evidence as to why they feel the 50(B) should be dismissed or granted. After the presentation of evidence and arguments, the judge rules and decides if the full 50(B) should be issued.

Why call it a “50(B)”

This refers to Chapter 50 of North Carolina General Statute and provides the law that governs this process.

50(C) No domestic Restraining Order

Since 50(B’s) require a domestic relation, a separate section 50(C) was created for people who seek protection against non-family, spouse and against random crazy or psychotic people.


I am glad to have never personally needed a 50(B) or 50(C) but I have helped many people through the process. Please give my office a call if you have any questions regarding a 50(B) or 50(C).

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