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Domestic Violence Law and Protective Order (DVPO) Hearings

Domestic Violence Law

DVPO, Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence Lawyers

Domestic abuse and domestic violence is very much a problem in our society. Whether the instigator is male or female and the false accuser or serial abuser, the victim is left in a vulnerable and sometimes helpless position. Don’t let someone cause you to live in fear. An abuser will rarely stop their actions out of compassion and require some form of legal intervention. Unfortunately, many times a situation gets worse and can even be fatal if no action is taken. Seek legal help and know your rights. If you’re being abused, allow us to help you. If you’ve been falsely accused, we’re here for you. Don’t let someone’s lies harm your future. Domestic violence charges can result in jail time, fines, employment issues and a number of other life-changing situations. Our attorneys are experienced counselors and can help you understand your rights, protect your livelihood and resolve domestic situations before they cause irreparable damage.

In some situations, the right to pursue legal recourse is wrongfully leveraged to harm another individual. If you need help filing a restraining order against an abuser, we can help. If you’ve been falsely accused, we’re here for you too. Our goal is to help our clients protect their livelihood regardless of whether they’re being abused or falsely accused. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact our legal team today and speak with one of our attorneys. No one deserves to be the victim of abuse or the recipient of false accusations. For more information on how we can help your family, contact our Raleigh, NC domestic violence lawyers today for consultation. With sensitive situations that arise from domestic violence; you can't afford to take a chance.

Domestic Violence Defense | DVPO Law

Our Domestic Violence Protective Order lawyers serve clients facing Domestic Violence Protective Order hearings. We firmly believe that everyone deserves a defense and that all persons should be represented when dealing with such an emotional and complicated legal issue. As a result, the Domestic Violence Protective Order attorneys will advocate zealously on behalf of our clients. We approach each case knowing that the circumstances and implications of a Domestic Violence Protective Order are very personal and important. We will take each case individually, and provide custom and thorough representation. If you are a defendant in an upcoming hearing, hire a Raleigh domestic violence lawyer that will strongly represent your needs.

Domestic Violence Prosecution and Restraining Orders

Our Domestic Violence Protective Order lawyers assist clients in filing for and obtaining Domestic Violence Protective Orders. We recognize that you may be going through the most difficult situation you have ever faced. Every case and situation is unique. Although you may request different outcomes from the judge, the priority of protection remains the same. Throughout the petition process and court hearings, we will assist you and attempt to lessen your apprehension. Most importantly, we will vigorously fight to protect you and your loved ones. Our Raleigh domestic violence lawyer represents clients through the often confusing process of filing a complaint, through the ex parte hearing, and the adversarial trial.

The DVPO Process

Domestic Violence victims have the ability to file a Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). By filing this document, a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) plaintiff essentially sues the Defendant. But rather than obtaining money like in a standard civil lawsuit, the DVPO Plaintiff is attempting to put a restraining order against the Defendant. When appropriately used, a DVPO protects a victim by requiring an abusive defendant to keep away. The Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order form is incredibly important in a DVPO proceeding. The answers will tell a judge whether you can file a DVPO against the defendant, the events resulting in Domestic Violence, what type of restraints need to be placed on the defendant, and whether the Plaintiff requires a house and vehicle. The answers also assist a judge in determining whether a DVPO Plaintiff’s case is strong enough to allow the case to proceed. Additionally, a Defendant may create a successful defense based upon insufficient or inappropriate answers. A Domestic Violence Protective Order attorney may help in answering these questions correctly and fully. Once a Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order form is filed, the Plaintiff is required to present the case to a judge. This hearing is conducted without the Defendant present. This hearing is called an Ex Parte Hearing. At this Ex Parte Hearing, the plaintiff must verbally convince the judge that there is enough facts to warrant a Domestic Violence Protective Order trial. If the Plaintiff does not convince the judge, then the judge will dismiss the Domestic Violence Protective Order. A Domestic Violence Protective Order attorney will help present a Plaintiff’s case, and argue the Plaintiff’s needs to the judge. Should the Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order form and the Ex Parte Hearing convince the judge to proceed, a court date will be set for the trial. A Plaintiff must have the judges order for trial be served on the Defendant by a Sheriff’s Deputy. Failure of proper service may result in a delay or possibly a dismissal of the DVPO. Once served by the Sheriff’s Deputy, the Defendant may begin constructing a Defense. If the Defendant hires an attorney, that attorney will attempt to poke holes in the Plaintiff’s case. That attorney may question sufficiency of The Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order and may require the Plaintiff to provide personal information through Discovery. The Defendant’s attorney may even have the Defendant file a Domestic Violence Protective Order against the Plaintiff, requiring the Plaintiff to defend against Domestic Violence. These actions by the Defendant’s Attorney are an attempt to give the Defendant the upper hand. By hiring a Raleigh DVPO attorney, a Plaintiff may better understand and proceed against the Defendant and the Defendant’s attorney.

Common DVPO Problems

For most people, a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) is a new or foreign concept. Most DVPO Plaintiffs and Defendants have never been exposed to this area of the law. This unfamiliarity often creates the largest problems for both Plaintiffs and Defendants. If you are a victim of domestic violence, obtaining a DVPO may seem extremely difficult. The decision to file a DVPO may alone be daunting. But once that decision is made, a DVPO Plaintiff is faced with cumbersome procedural steps. The initial filing is filled with in-depth questions requiring precise answers that may vastly influence the case. DVPO plaintiffs are often apprehensive of the initial Ex Parte Hearing before the judge. These plaintiffs often question whether they will know what to say, how to answer questions, and whether the judge will be empathetic. Additionally, DVPO plaintiffs often have anxiety awaiting their trial. They question whether the Defendant retained an attorney, whether they are prepared, whether these proceedings may affect their livelihood, job, pets, and children. Most of this apprehension may arise from not having an attorney to explain. DVPO Defendants are also faced with the unknown. Often, a DVPO Defendant was both unaware and not expecting a Sheriff’s Deputy to serve on the Defendant a DVPO complaint. A whirlwind of questions typically follows. Does this mean I’m a criminal? Will I go to jail? How will this affect my life, my job, the relationship with my children? And while Defendants may continue to ask questions of the unknown, a Defendant may fail to objectively ask “How do I defend myself?” And because a typical DVPO Defendant has never been exposed to a DVPO, that Defendant may not know the proper defensive steps. Regardless of if you’re a DVPO Plaintiff or Defendant, chances are you have never been exposed to a DVPO. The process is not easy. Your questions will be many. If this is your first exposure to DVPO, whether Plaintiff or Defendant, consider contacting Eldreth Eldreth PC in Raleigh, NC. We can guide you through the unknown.

Domestic Violence FAQs

Q: What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
A: A Domestic Violence Protective Orders (also called a DVPO and also often just called a restraining order) provides protection to the victims of domestic violence and their minor children. If a full order is entered, it may prevent you from contacting the accuser, remove you from your home or apartment (if you share living space with the accuser), give law enforcement the authority to take firearms and weapons away from you, and provide for temporary child custody to the accuser.
Q: Why have I received a Notice of Hearing?
A: If you have received a “Notice of Hearing on Domestic Violence Protective Order” (often served by the sheriff's department of your county) this means that someone has appeared before a judge and accused you of domestic violence. The judge has entered an ex parte order that prevents you from contacting your accuser and may prevent you from being within a certain distance of your accuser. Please read the Notice of Hearing closely and make sure you do not violate the order. Call a Domestic Violence Protective Order Lawyer as soon as you can.
Q: What is an ex parte hearing?
A: An ex parte hearing is when your accuser went to the courthouse and accused you of domestic violence on paper and before a judge. The worst part is that you were not even there. Don’t worry, however, you will have your chance to tell your side of the story soon. The Court is required to schedule a full hearing within ten (10) days of entering the ex parte order. The date of this order is written on the front page of your Notice of Hearing. You should consider hiring a domestic violence protective lawyer with you to the hearing. What ever you do, do not fail to show up.
Q: What happens at the full domestic violence hearing?
A: At the full hearing you and your accuser will be allowed to testify, cross examine the other, and present evidence to support your case. The judge will expect you to follow as closely as possible the rules of civil procedure and of evidence when presenting your case. Failure to do so may have a negative impact on your case. This is another big reason to hire a domestic violence lawyer.
Q: Will my accuser have a lawyer?
A: If you believe that you accuser cannot afford a lawyer and will be as unprepared as you are, guess again. There are non profit organizations in North Carolina that provide fee representation for victims of domestic violence. Legal Aide of North Carolina for legal services at no costs. SAFE-LINK provides prepaid bus passes at no cost for victims without means of transportation to and from court for protective order hearings. We agree that these are valuable services and victims benefit from having an attorney represent them. The problem is that even if your accuser has not experienced domestic violence, she may be represented by a lawyer or a non profit service just because she filed for a Domestic Violence Protective Order. You, the accused, do not be the only person in the courtroom who is unprepared.
Q: Can I find a lawyer service to represent me for free?
A: Even though there are non profit services that will represent someone who claims to be a victim, there is no free relief for a person who is accused of domestic violence under Chapter 50B. True, defendants in a criminal setting do have the right to an attorney and an attorney can be appointed in criminal courtrooms. However, the Domestic Violence Protective Order in this case is a civil matter, not criminal, and the only way for you to get an attorney is to hire a Domestic Violence Protective Order lawyer.
Q: What is the worst that can happen?
A: If you are found to have committed domestic violence you will be prevented from contacting your accuser. You will not even be allowed to be within a certain distance of this person. You may lose custody of your children if you have any. You may lose the right to live in your home if you share with the accuser. You may lose the right to possess or purchase firearms. The order may be valid for up to one year and the accuser may renew the order for another 2 years if necessary. In addition, a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault can bring criminal charges, which will be prosecuted by the State of North Carolina through the District Attorney’s office.
Q: What happens if you violate a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
A: The victim can call the police. A violation of a domestic violence court order is a criminal offense. The police should arrest the violator immediately if the accused can show them a court order and they reasonably believe that you have violated it.

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