What do Protective Orders mean in the state of Oklahoma?
Video Transcribed: What is a protective order in Oklahoma? Who should get one, what are the grounds, and what are the repercussions? Hi, I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and I’m about to answer those questions for you.
So what is a protective order? That is where you can get an order in place that requires somebody to stay away from you, somebody to stop having contact with you, stop harassing you, stalking. And in Oklahoma we call them protective orders. Elsewhere, people may be more familiar with them as restraining orders. That’s typically what you see in the movies or on television called a restraining order, because I think that’s the phraseology that they use in California.
But here in Oklahoma, a restraining order can mean something different, and it’s a protective order to where you have those orders in place to keep people away from you. And those have been in Oklahoma since 1982, when the Protection From Domestic Abuse Act was put into place. So as far as who can get one, well, it’s somebody that’s a victim of domestic violence or a threat of imminent harm, or a harassment or stalking or rape victim, or victim of certain crimes. Those people can file for a protective order and get those granted in their county with the county judge.
Now, what’s different about a protective order than other orders and restraining orders in Oklahoma, and what set it apart when it was passed in 1982 is violation of it does not result in a contempt charge that has to be filed by the person suggesting it is a violation. It’s an actual criminal offense. Violation of the protective order is a separate crime, and it’s a misdemeanor for a first offense, and that is charged by the prosecutor, by the district attorney.
It’s not the party that’s been victimized that actually has to file it. So if you violate it, you report it to the police, it goes to district attorney’s office, can be prosecuted like any other crime. That’s what sets protective orders apart. That’s what makes them more serious.
But rather than having, when you’re getting the initial protective order, the same sort of due process protections in a criminal case, where it’s got to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s not. It’s treated more like a civil matter where it’s preponderance of the evidence in order to get one granted. So there are some concerns regarding due process there, but if you feel like you’ve been a victim of domestic violence, threats of imminent harm, harassment, stalking, rape, or certain crimes, you can file one and get that order in place and you can have it say, “They’ve got to stay, you know 100 yards away.”
Or if you’re married, you can have that person taken out of the house. Or if you’ve got an animal, you can put the animal, pet on that protective order and protect your dog from somebody. There’s a lot of things that you can do with protective orders, and it’s been expanded over the years. And each of those issues I’m going to talk about in separate videos that are going to be posted.
And as always, though, don’t take this general advice from me. If you have circumstances where you have questions regarding a protective order, get specific advice for your circumstances. Talk to an attorney. You can call me at (918) 879-1681, visit at wirthlawoffice.com, or contact another attorney. Either way, get specific advice for yourself rather than the general advice of this video.