• Kyle Persaud

Protective Orders in Oklahoma

Updated: Feb 13

October is domestic violence awareness month. So, my next two posts will be about domestic violence. This week’s post will tell how you may obtain a protective order, in Oklahoma, if you are a victim of domestic violence. In next week’s post, I’ll tell how a non-citizen, who is in the U.S., and is a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, may legally remain in the U.S., without needing their abuser to file a petition for them. (Congress created a special program allowing domestic violence victims to “self-petition”, so that no one will have to depend on an abusive family member to stay in the U.S.)


How to obtain a protective order in Oklahoma


If you have been abused or harassed, you may be able to obtain a protective order.

In this post, I will tell who is eligible to receive a protective order, how to obtain one, and what relief is available in a protective order.


Who may receive a protective order?


You are eligible to get a protective order if you fall into any one the following five categories:


  1. You are a victim of domestic abuse

  2. You are a victim of rape

  3. You are a victim of stalking

  4. You are a victim of harassment

  5. You are a victim of forcible sodomy, a sex offense, kidnapping, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, or you are a member of the immediate family of a victim of first-degree murder.


The terms “domestic abuse”, “stalking”, and “harassment” are somewhat complicated in Oklahoma law. Below is an explanation of what each of those categories mean:



Domestic abuse


“Domestic abuse” is defined as “any act of physical harm, or the threat of imminent physical harm which is committed by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor child thirteen (13) years of age or older against another adult, emancipated minor or minor child who is currently or was previously an intimate partner or family or household member”


“Intimate partner” means:


a. current or former spouses,

b. persons who are or were in a dating relationship,

c. persons who are the biological parents of the same child, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time, and

d. persons who currently or formerly lived together in an intimate way, primarily characterized by affectionate or sexual involvement.


“Family or Household Member” means:


a. parents, including grandparents, stepparents, adoptive parents and foster parents,

b. children, including grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children and foster children, and

. persons otherwise related by blood or marriage living in the same household


If you want to get a protective order because you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may ONLY get a protective order if your relationship to the abuser falls into one of the above categories.


Stalking


“Stalking” means “the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of a person by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor thirteen (13) years of age or older, in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and actually causes the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested. Stalking also means a course of conduct composed of a series of two or more separate acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose or unconsented contact with a person that is initiated or continued without the consent of the individual or in disregard of the expressed desire of the individual that the contact be avoided or discontinued.”


“Unconsented contact” can include:


  • Following you, or appearing within your sight

  • Approaching or confronting you in a public place or on private property

  • Appearing at your workplace or residence

  • Entering onto, or remaining on, your property (or property you lease or occupy)

  • Contact you by telephone

  • Sending you mail, e-mail, texts, or social media messages

  • Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, your property (or property you lease or occupy)


NOTE: If you want to get a protective order because you are a victim of stalking, and the stalker is not related to you, you must file a complaint against the stalker, with law enforcement, BEFORE you file the petition for the protective order.


Harassment


“Harassment” means “a knowing and willful course or pattern of conduct by a family or household member or an individual who is or has been involved in a dating relationship with the person, directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial distress to the person. ‘Harassment’ shall include, but not be limited to, harassing or obscene telephone calls … and fear of death or bodily injury”

If you want to get a protective order because you are a victim of harassment, you may only get a protective order if your harasser:


  • Is, or was, in a dating relationship with you, or

  • Is, or was, a family or household member


“Family or Household Member” means:


a. parents, including grandparents, stepparents, adoptive parents and foster parents,

b. children, including grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children and foster children, and

c. persons otherwise related by blood or marriage living in the same household


If none of these relationships exist between you and the harasser, you may not get a protective order based on harassment.



How do you get a protective order?


To get a protective order, go to the court clerk’s office in any of the following counties:


  • The county where you reside,

  • The county where the defendant resides, or

  • The county where the abuse, rape, stalking, harassment, or other violence occurred.


Tell the court clerk you want to file a protective order. The court clerk will tell you what to do. The clerk may give you papers to fill out, and the clerk will assist you with these papers. Follow the clerk’s instructions.


By law, if you ask for an emergency protective order, a judge must hold a hearing on the same day that you file your petition. At this hearing, only you will be present – the defendant will not be present, nor will the defendant even know about the hearing. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether you need an emergency protective order. If the judge grants the emergency protective order, then, the judge must schedule a full hearing less than 14 days after the petition is filed. The sheriff must serve the defendant with a copy of the emergency protective order, and give the defendant notice of the full hearing. The defendant will have the right to appear at this full hearing.


If the judge does not grant an emergency protective order, the judge may still schedule a full hearing less than 14 days after the petition is filed. If the defendant is a minor child who has been taken from the home as “delinquent” or as a “child in need of supervision” then the judge must schedule the full hearing within 72 hours after the petition is filed.

If the courthouse is not open for business, and there is an emergency and you need a protective order immediately, call law enforcement. There is a state law, that allows a law enforcement officer to call a judge, and who may issue a protective order immediately, when court is not in session. Under the current law, a protective order issued in this manner will be in effect only until the close of business on the next day that the courthouse is open for business. (Effective November 1, 2019, this law will change. After November 1, 2019, if a law enforcement officer calls a judge and obtains a protective order when the court is not open for business, then, after the judge grants the order, the judge will set a full hearing on a date less than 14 days after the judge grants the emergency protective order. The emergency protective order will remain in effect until this full hearing date. The sheriff must serve the defendant with a copy of the emergency protective order, and give the defendant notice of the full hearing. The defendant will have the right to appear at this full hearing.)


After you file the petition for protective order (whether or not the judge grants the protective order) then, your next step will be to appear at the full hearing. The defendant will also have the right to appear at the hearing. When you go to the hearing, officers at the courthouse will place you and the defendant in separate rooms while you are waiting for the hearing, so that you will not have to be in the same room as the defendant. If you do not appear at the hearing, the judge may dismiss your petition.


If the sheriff has failed to serve the defendant by the time of the hearing, the judge will set another hearing within 14 days, and the sheriff will attempt to serve the defendant again. The petition will continue every 14 days until the defendant is served, or unless you request that the petition be dismissed.


If the defendant is served but does not appear at the hearing, the judge may issue a final protective order by default.


If the defendant appears at the hearing, the judge will hear evidence from both you and the defendant. Based on this evidence, the judge will decide whether to issue a final protective order.



What relief is available in a protective order?


If the judge issues a final protective order, then, in this order, the judge may, “impose any terms and conditions in the protective order that the court reasonably believes are necessary to bring about the cessation of domestic abuse against the victim or stalking or harassment of the victim or the immediate family of the victim.” Some provisions that are common in protective orders are:


  • The Defendant may be prohibited from having any contact with you, including by telephone, mail, or electronic communication

  • The Defendant may be prohibited from injuring, abusing, sexually assaulting, molesting, harassing, stalking, or threatening you, and from using physical force against you, or threatening physical force against you, that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury

  • The Defendant may be prohibited from engaging in other conduct that would place you, or your relatives, in reasonable fear of bodily injury

  • The Defendant may be ordered to remain away from your home

  • The Court may order law enforcement officers to accompany the Defendant to your home to remove clothing or personal items from your home, but the Defendant will not be allowed to go to your home without law enforcement present

  • The Court may order law enforcement officers to accompany you to the Defendant’s home, so that you may remove clothing or personal items, and the law enforcement officers will remain at the home until you leave the premises

  • If the Defendant is a minor child, the Court may order the Defendant to be taken into state custody

  • If you and the Defendant have a child together, the Court may modify a custody or visitation order

  • The Court may order the Defendant to obtain domestic abuse counseling or treatment (but, the Court may not order you to attend any counseling, mediation, or treatment with the Defendant, if attendance would compromise your safety)

  • The Court may order the Defendant to have no contact with an animal you own

  • The Defendant may be ordered to wear a 24-hour GPS monitoring device

  • The Court may order a wireless telephone or public utility provider to transfer all rights in the wireless telephone or utility account from the Defendant to you, so that you maintain a wireless telephone number or public utilities

  • The Court may order the Defendant to pay court costs, service of process fees, or attorney’s fees, if you have hired an attorney


In addition, anyone who has a protective order granted against them, will not be allowed to own firearms.


A protective order may remain in place for up to five years (or longer, in certain specified cases.) A protective order will be effective nationwide. If a protective order was issued in a state other than Oklahoma, this order will be effective in Oklahoma, even if the order contains provisions that are not available in Oklahoma. If a person violates a protective order, the person may be criminally prosecuted, and be forced to pay a fine or go to prison. No one, including the person protected, may give a person permission to violate a protective order. Once a protective order has been granted, only a judge will be allowed to rescind or change the order. The court clerk is required to send a copy of the protective order to all law enforcement agencies you request.


If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek help immediately; do not delay. You are a human being, and you are created in God’s image. No one has the right to physically or emotionally abuse you. You are NEVER required to accept emotional or physical abuse.

NOTE: The information provided on this website is not intended to be, and does not constitute, the giving of legal advice. The information provided here is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for individual reliance on privately retained legal counsel. Information provided on this site may not constitute the most current or complete information with respect to legal topics or developments. Mr. Persaud expressly disclaims all liability based on any information contained on this site.”

© 2020, by Kyle Persaud.