If you have experienced unwanted sexual contact or been stalked by someone you're not related to, living with, or in a relationship with, you may be eligible to file a 50C no-contact order against that person. In North Carolina, a 50C order is a civil restraining order designed to provide specific protection for victims of sexual assault and stalking (i.e., “unlawful conduct”) where the offender has no personal relationship with the victim. Let's discuss the details of what the 50C order covers and the process of obtaining one.
When to File for a 50C No-Contact Order
You're eligible to petition the court for a 50C no-contact order only in situations where you have suffered nonconsensual sexual contact or stalking by someone with whom you do NOT have a “personal relationship.” The state of North Carolina defines “personal relationships” as intimate or family relationships, which include:
- Parents and guardians
- Current and former spouses or dating partners
- Partners who live together, have lived together, and have had children together
- Current or former household members
If the alleged offender is related to you in any of the ways above, you would request a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) instead of a 50C order.
Excluding the relationships mentioned above, a 50C no-contact order provides protection against any other offender. Examples might include:
In addition, an employer may request a 50C no-contact order on behalf of an employee who has suffered unlawful conduct at the workplace.
The Process of Obtaining a 50C Order
Filing for a 50C is a fairly straightforward process. There is no fee to file, and you may be able to get immediate protection while you await a formal hearing. A good attorney can help facilitate this process for you.
Obtaining a 50C order involves the following steps:
- Filling out the complaint form requesting the no-contact order
- Filing the order either at the county courthouse where you live, where the offender lives, or where the unlawful conduct occurred.
- If you are in immediate danger, the judge may issue a temporary no-contact order effective for up to 10 days.
- The sheriff's office will serve notice to the alleged offender of the no-contact request and be given 10 days to respond or to appear at a scheduled hearing.
- There is a formal hearing to determine whether to issue the permanent no-contact order, during which the alleged offender has the opportunity to respond. If the judge grants the 50C order, it stays in effect for one year unless it is extended. If the offender fails to respond or appear, the judge may rule in your favor by default.
What the 50C Covers
The 50C no-contact order enables the judge to issue specific protections related to the alleged offender's actions. Among other things, the order may prohibit the offender from any of the following:
- Touching or injuring you in any way
- Stalking or harassing you, including at your place of work
- Contacting you in person, by phone, internet/email, or written communication
- Visiting your residence, school, work, or other places when you are present
If you are being victimized by a stalker or experiencing unwanted sexual contact, a 50C no-contact order may provide the protection you need. We can help you through the process. Contact Caulder & Valentine today to learn more.