Over the last several years, due to personal experiences, I began working on and drafting various laws regarding restraining orders to propose to the North Carolina legislature. These laws proposed expunctions of domestic violence actions which are issued pursuant to Chapter 50B (restraining orders). Under many circumstances, an individual can petition the state of North Carolina to expunge criminal convictions, thus raising the question: In similar circumstances, should an individual also be able to petition the state to expunge a 50B?

In 2013, I initially brought this idea to the attention of other legal professionals. While delivering a speech at a conference on custody actions and the use of the 50B laws in obtaining emergency custody, there was an overwhelming amount of support.

With the assistance and hard work of Don Vaughan and a number of other collaborative members of the NC Legislature including John Faircloth, the bill is currently under legislative review.

We are currently raising support and awareness for this proposed bill, known as house bill 796. Please review this proposition and share your support by informing others and encouraging your local legislatures.

A restraining order can seriously tarnish an individual’s reputation and livelihood for the rest of their life. If the 50B is justified, then a person must live with the consequences of their actions. However, when a 50B is wrongfully issued with no legitimate cause, then the ability to expunge such an action should be considered.

I anticipate raising more awareness and generating further proposed legislation regarding restraining orders in the future.