Domestic Stalking is a Felony In Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, stalking is defined as repeatedly and maliciously following or harassing another in such a manner that causes a person or a member of their immediate family to feel frightened, threatened, intimidated, harassed, or molested. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173. It is normally treated as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or a fine and jail time.
However, there are certain conditions in which stalking is charged as a felony. If a temporary or permanent protective or restraining order is in place, or an injunction prohibiting the harassing or stalking behavior, at the time that the perpetrator engages in that stalking behavior — and the perpetrator has had notice of the order — then the stalking is considered domestic stalking. It can then chargeable as a felony.
Likewise, stalking behavior that is in violation of a parole which prohibits this behavior is chargeable as a felony. Finally, if the perpetrator has completed a sentence for a conviction of a crime involving the use of threat or violence against the same party or a member of that party’s family, the stalking will be chargeable as a felony.
Once charged as a felony, stalking is punishable by a jail term up to 5 years, a fine up to $2,500 or a combination of both.
Second Offense Stalking Penalties in Oklahoma
A prior stalking conviction within the past 10 years will also make another stalking conviction chargeable as a felony. Likewise, a prior stalking conviction and a knowing violation of a current protective order protecting the same person will make another stalking conviction chargeable as a felony. These convictions are also punishable by up to 5 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
A person convicted of stalking within 10 years of a prior stalking conviction can be found guilty of a felony. Penalties can include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or prison time and a fine.
It is worth noting that continuing to engage in a course of repeated contacts of an unconsented nature with the victim after the victim has requested that the perpetrator stop creates a rebuttable presumption that the conduct caused the victim to feel threatened, afraid, intimidated, harassed or molested. This presumption significantly shifts the burden of proof for the defendant. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173.
Contact is broadly defined to include but is not limited to: any kind of contact that causes emotional distress to the victim such as appearing within sight of the victim, calls, texts, emails, confronting or approaching the victim in any public place, place of employment, or residence of the victim, or leaving any sort of object on the victim’s property.
Violation of a Protective Order in Oklahoma Compared
In Oklahoma, a domestic restraining order is called a protective order, or formally, an order for protection. Oklahoma law allows the victim of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, or rape, to seek relief in the form of an order for protection that prohibits contact between the perpetrator and the victim. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.2.
A person seeking a protective order does not need to be in a domestic relationship to be protected. However, if the person seeking a protective order is not in a family, household or dating relationship with the defendant, the person must first file a criminal complaint with police before seeking a protective order from the court.
The petition for a protective order may be filed by the victim on an ex parte basis, without notice to the accused. This lets the court grant a temporary order on an emergency basis until a more formal, noticed hearing can be scheduled. A temporary order to protect the victim is often granted in a case of domestic abuse or other stalking or violent behavior. Typically, a protective order prohibits contact. But it also prohibits threats, harassment, stalking and all violence toward the victim. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 §§ 60.1, 60.2.
As in the case of domestic stalking, “contact” is interpreted broadly and much the same types of contact are prohibited. It means no contact of any kind–not from the person restrained nor from that person’s friends of family enlisted by the perpetrator to attempt contact with the victim. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.1.
Penalties for Violation of a Protective Order
As a first offense, violating a protective order is treated as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or a fine and jail time for the first offense. In domestic abuse situations, a protective order may be violated repeatedly. Any subsequent violation of a protective order is a felony punishable by a prison term of from 1 to 3 years, a fine from $2,000 to $10,000 or a fine and incarceration.
If the victim suffers physical injury as a result of the crime, the consequences are more serious. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.6. In that case, the perpetrator can be found guilty of a misdemeanor for the first offense and punished by 20 days to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or fines and jail
A subsequent violation resulting in injury is treated as a felony and punishable by imprisonment from 1 to 5 years, a fine from $3,000 to $10,000 or fines and prison. None of these sentences for protective order violations are eligible for probation, deferred sentencing or suspended sentencing. The court may also order counseling and the wearing of a 24p-hour GPS device. Okla stat tit 22 § 60.6.
Free Consultation With a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
Stalking or criminally harassing behavior is treated severely in Oklahoma. If charged, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney. A local attorney will know the court system and judges in the area and will know how best to deal with the local system.
Do not delay. Your initial consultation is free. Call the Wirth Law Office at (918) 879-1681 (or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law) or send your question for the Tulsa criminal defense lawyer using the form at the top right of this page.