If you’ve been accused of domestic abuse in Oklahoma, there will likely be a victim protective order (VPO) issued. Understanding what the protective order involves is essential since the penalties for violating an order can be quite harsh.
What a Protective Order Does
Protective orders, also referred to as restraining orders, are intended to prevent intimidation or harm caused by someone who is accused of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, or sexual assault. Oklahoma protective orders resulting from allegations of domestic abuse are granted under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act (22 O.S. §§ 60-60.20).
Protective orders have three important stipulations.
- The order will prevent you from having any contact with the alleged victim—including physical contact as well as phone calls, emails, or texts.
- If you live with the person being protected, you will be required to find another place to stay.
- You will be asked to relinquish all firearms.
Types of Protective Orders Issued in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law provides for three types of protective orders: an emergency temporary order, an emergency ex parte order, and a final order of protection. The following is a brief overview:
- Emergency temporary orders. This type of protective order is issued when someone is perceived to be in immediate danger, and the police have responded to the scene. The responding officer has the petition for the alleged victim to complete, then a judge gives verbal approval for an order that is valid until the end of the first business day following the incident.
- Emergency ex parte order. The person who has a temporary protective order must petition for an emergency ex parte order in the county courthouse where the incident occurred or where either they or their alleged abuser reside. Ex parte means that the alleged abuser is not required to be notified of the petition for the order of protection. If the emergency order is granted, it lasts until the hearing for the final order of protection—which is generally within 14 days.
- Final order of protection. A final order of protection can only be issued after both sides—the alleged victim and the alleged abuser—have the chance to present their evidence in court. A final order of protection can either last for five years (excluding time the abuser is incarcerated) or be a continuous order with no specific end date. Continuous orders are most often issued if the person named in the order has previous violent convictions, a history of violating court orders, or protective orders issued against them in other states.
To guard against protective orders being used as a bargaining tool in divorce cases or domestic disputes, Oklahoma law requires that the petitioner pay court costs and attorney fees when a judge finds the petition to be frivolous.
Penalties for Violating a Protective Order
A violation of a protective order is a separate criminal charge in addition to whatever domestic abuse charges you are facing. Under Oklahoma law, violation of a protective order can result in the following penalties:
- First offense. This is considered a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- First offense resulting in injury. This is considered a misdemeanor with a penalty of 20 days to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second offense. This is a felony charge with a penalty of one to three years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $10,000.
- Second offense resulting in injury. This is a felony charge with a penalty of one to five years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $10,000.
Request a Consultation
When a protective order is issued against you, you need a skilled attorney who can advocate for your rights. If you ignore the situation, you risk severe damage to your personal and professional reputation. If a permanent protective order is issued, you may even lose your professional license or become ineligible for certain types of employment opportunities.
Attorney Lee Berlin is the only private attorney in Oklahoma to focus on defending individuals accused of domestic abuse and other special victim crimes. Contact The Berlin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and what options you have available to build the strongest possible defense.