Protective Order

The Six Step Restraining Order (Protective Order )Process in Wake County, North Carolina

Over 1.1 million people live in Wake County, North Carolina. This high population means a higher likelihood of personal and business-related disputes. As a result, local courts stay busy with requests for restraining orders of various types. A restraining order is also known to many including the courts as a “protective order.”

North Carolina protective order types include:

  • Civil no-contact order
  • Civil no-contact order for victims of registered sex offenders
  • Domestic violence protective order

There are six steps involved in obtaining a Civil No-Contact Order or a Domestic Violence Protective Order in Wake County. This is also the case formats all other cities and counties in North Carolina. Below, we explore the typical six steps one must take in order to obtain a restraining order.

1. Obtaining the Necessary Forms at the Courthouse

To start the process of obtaining a restraining order in Wake County, the complainant must go to the courthouse at 316 Fayetteville Street Mall in Raleigh or download appropriate forms online.

Upon going into the magistrate’s office or the office of the clerk of a civil court, the applicant simply asks about filing for a restraining order. Deputy clerks and others working in these offices prove very helpful. They explain the forms the applicant needs. Of course, having an attorney to file these documents makes the process much easier.

2. Completing the Form and Signing It In Front of a Notary Public

To file for a restraining order, the complainant must fill out the associated form completely. However, no one should sign the document without a notary public or clerk of court witnesses. Upon witnessed signature and filing, the document becomes a civil complaint in the courts. This makes the signing party the plaintiff. The person they are seeking the restraining order against becomes the defendant.

3. Filling Out the Summons

After completing the restraining order form, signing it in front of a witness, and filing the document, the plaintiff must fill out a summons. This summons serves the complaint to the defendant and orders them to appear in court.

To help the Wake County Sheriff’s office find and identify the defendant, the plaintiff must provide key information on their identity. The summons requires the defendant’s name, address, and other contact details. Other helpful details for identification include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Race
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social security number
  • Employment address
  • Firearm possession or permit information

The sheriff’s office finds the defendant, serves the complaint, summons, notice of hearing, and a copy of any temporary protective order. From this point forward, the plaintiff should not have any contact with the defendant.

4. Seeking a Temporary Protective Order

A North Carolina plaintiff can also seek a 10-day temporary protective order at the same time as they seek the long-term order. To do this, consult with an attorney or complete the ex parte/temporary restraining order form when filling out the complaint and summons documents.

This temporary protective order does not require the defendant’s presence at a court hearing in Wake County. As a result, it only requires the complainant to go before a judge and explain the immediate danger for which they need the order. It is important that a protected person keeps a copy of the protective order on them at all times.

5. Attending the Scheduled Hearing

After completing the complaint and summons, the plaintiff and defendant both receive a restraining order hearing date and time. Under typical circumstances, this hearing takes place within 10 days. The plaintiff must attend this hearing or the request expires. If the defendant does not attend, the court decides whether to proceed or reschedule.

Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant in a Wake County restraining order hearing, it is important to have legal representation. It is possible to ask the court to let you secure representation by a lawyer through a 10-day continuance. A continuance is an extension of the hearing in the court system, for rescheduling at a later date.

6. Requesting Extensions on the Protective Order As Needed

In Wake County and other parts of North Carolina, a protective order lasts one year from the date the judge grants it. But the plaintiff can renew the order by seeking an extension. This involves repeating the above steps and proving the need for the hearing.

After Arrest for Violating a Protective Order

Someone who violates a restraining order in Wake County risks immediate arrest. If you or someone you love faces jail time because of a court order violation or for any other reason, contact the bail bond professionals of Wake County at DJ’s Bail Bonds. Call us at (919) 986-1547 or email