Oklahoma provides protection for victims of crimes such as domestic violence, harassment, and stalking through protective orders and victim protection orders (VPOs). Though the court can’t prevent harassing behavior, a protective order provides guidelines that result in criminal penalties if violated.
Types of Protective Orders in Oklahoma
There are three types, or levels, of an order of protection: an emergency temporary protective order, an emergency ex parte protective order, and a final protective order.
Emergency Temporary Protective Order
These orders are issued in an extreme emergency, usually issued by the police when responding to a violent incident while the court is closed. A judge gives temporary approval of this order and does so 24/7. The emergency temporary order lasts for 24 hours or until the end of the court’s next business day.
Emergency Ex Parte Protective Order
The emergency temporary order can be extended to an emergency ex parte order if the victim petitions with the county courthouse. The petitioner must prove immediate fear of danger, and the person whom the order is filed against does not need to be made aware of the petition. An emergency ex parte order lasts until a hearing for a final protective order, usually 14 days.
Final Protective Order
When an emergency ex parte order is filed, a hearing for a final protective order will be scheduled. A hearing can also be made without filing for an emergency ex parte order. At the hearing, the judge will either issue the final protective order or dismiss the case.
Both the petitioner and the person they are filing against, the respondent, have the chance at the hearing to present evidence for their case for or against the protective order. If the judge issues a final order of protection, it can last up to five years. At the end of those five years, another hearing can be held to extend the order.
The judge may also decide to issue a continuous protective order, which has no end date specified. These orders are issued if the respondent:
- has prior violent felony convictions,
- has previously violated court orders,
- has a felony stalking conviction, or
- has a final protective order issued in another state.
Causes for a Protective Order
A protective order can be filed if the petitioner is suffering violent or harassing behaviors from a close family member, partner, or member of the household. Behaviors include:
- Domestic abuse
- Sexual assault
- Other crimes
A protective order is made to protect you and your family from these behaviors. They can be filed against:
- Your current or former spouse
- A current or former partner
- A parent or stepparent, and children or stepchildren
- Anyone related by blood or marriage who lives in the same house as you
- Someone you had a child with
You could also file a protective order against someone if the person is not a close family member or partner if the following crimes were committed:
- First-degree murder against an immediate family member
- Rape or sex offense
- Forcible sodomy
- Assault and battery with a deadly weapon
How Oklahoma Defines Domestic Abuse and Stalking
Domestic abuse is when a family member, household member, or close partner:
- Causes you physical harm
- Threatens you with imminent physical harm
Stalking in Oklahoma refers to someone at least 13 years of age repeatedly and purposefully harassing or following you. These actions are done in a manner that any reasonable person would feel frightened, harassed, molested, or intimidated.
What a Protective Order Does
An order of protection prohibits the abuser from continuing their violent or harassing behaviors through contacting the victim, speaking to them, having physical contact, or being in their presence. A protective order may also require the abuser to give up firearms and leave the home they share with the victim. The exact terms of a protective order depend on the circumstances.
The abuser can be criminally charged if they violate the terms of the protective order. The first offense is charged as a misdemeanor, which can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail if convicted. The second offense is charged as a felony. If convicted, punishments include a fine between $2,000 and $10,000 and 1 to 3 years in prison. These punishments increase if the abuser harms the person protected under the order.
Q: How Does a Protective Order Work in Oklahoma?
A: A protective order prohibits a person from harassing or violent behaviors. It may also force them to move out of the home they share with the victim, prohibit them from the victim’s work or children’s school, and force them to give up any firearms. Violations of a protective order result in criminal charges.
Q: What’s the Difference Between a Protective Order and a Restraining Order in Oklahoma?
A: Both a protective order and a restraining order protect victims of domestic abuse and harassment from further violent behaviors. A restraining order is just another name for a protective order. ‘Protective’ order is the legal name in Oklahoma, while other states refer to the order as a restraining order.
Q: How Much Does a Protective Order Cost in Oklahoma?
A: Oklahoma doesn’t have a filing fee to petition for a protective order. If the person who petitioned for the order doesn’t show up for the hearing, the petition will likely be dismissed, and the petitioner may need to pay court costs. If the judge determines that the protective order was frivolously filed, the petitioner may be ordered to pay court costs and the respondent’s attorney fees. A frivolous filing may include a fraudulent claim of domestic abuse to change the result of divorce proceedings.
Q: Is Violating a Protective Order a Felony in Oklahoma?
A: The first violation of a protective order is not a felony. It is charged as a misdemeanor, and conviction results in up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, a second offense is charged as a felony in Oklahoma. The offender will face between $2,000 and $10,000 in fines and 1 to 3 years of incarceration if convicted.
Legal Counsel For Filing Protective Orders
An Oklahoma City attorney can make the process of filing a protective order easier and advise you on other legal avenues you can take to protect yourself. Contact Stange Law Firm today.