Civil No-contact Cases
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In 2004, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a Chapter in the North Carolina General Statutes that provided remedies to persons who are the victim of stalking, abuse, or nonconsensual sexual conduct.
If you are the victim of stalking, abuse, or nonconsensual sexual conduct, you can ask the Court to enter a civil no-contact case to prevent your abuser from having any further contact with you. The North Carolina law defines abuse as physically or mentally harming, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with the personal liberty of another. Stalking is defined by the law as:
On more than one occasion, following or otherwise harassing, as defined in G.S. 14-277.3A(b)(2), another person without legal purpose with the intent to do any of the following:
a. Place the person in reasonable fear either for the person’s safety or the safety of the person’s immediate family or close personal associates.
b. Cause that person to suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment and that in fact causes that person substantial emotional distress.
7. Unlawful conduct. – The commission of one or more of the following acts by a person 16 years of age or older upon a person, but does not include acts of self-defense or defense of others:
a. Nonconsensual sexual conduct, including single incidences of nonconsensual sexual conduct.
An action filed under these laws may be filed in any county permitted under the North Carolina venue statutes, or where the unlawful conduct took place.
Under the statute, if the victim states that disclosure of the victim’s address would place the victim or any member of the victim’s family or household at risk for further unlawful conduct, the victim’s address may be omitted from all documents filed with the court. If the victim has not disclosed an address under this subsection, the victim shall designate an alternative address to receive notice of any motions or pleadings from the opposing party.
Any action for a civil no-contact order requires that a summons be issued and served. The summons shall require the respondent to answer within 10 days of the date of service. Attachments to the summons shall include the complaint for the civil no-contact order, and any temporary civil no-contact order that has been issued and the notice of hearing on the temporary civil no-contact order. The summons will be served by the Sheriff by personal delivery to the respondent. The court may enter a civil no-contact order by default for the remedy sought in the complaint if the respondent has been served in accordance with this section and fails to answer as directed, or fails to appear on any subsequent appearance or hearing date agreed to by the parties or set by the court.
The remedies available to victims under this statute include the following:
- 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.
c. A civil no-contact order shall include the following notice, printed in conspicuous type: “A knowing violation of a civil no-contact order shall be punishable as contempt of court which may result in a fine or imprisonment.”
If the Court finds that you have suffered unlawful conduct committed by the respondent, a “permanent” civil no-contact order may be issued if the court additionally finds that process was properly served on the respondent, the respondent has answered the complaint and notice of hearing was given, or the respondent is in default. A “permanent” order is effective for a period of one year, and may be extended if “good cause” is shown. There is no requirement that another unlawful act has been committed for a permanent order to be renewed.
If the respondent commits a knowing violation of an order, they are punishable by filing a motion for contempt against them, which sentence can include jail time.