The Threat Of Imminent Harm Is A Component Of Domestic Abuse
Video Transcribed: What is a threat of eminent physical harm for the purposes of getting a protective order in Oklahoma? I’m Oklahoma attorney James Wirth. I’m about to answer that question for you. Okay, so what is threat of imminent physical harm for the purposes of getting a protective order? As I’ve told you in other videos, to get a protective order in Oklahoma, it needs to be domestic violence, domestic abuse, threat of an imminent harm, harassment, stalking, rape or victim of certain crimes.
So in the statute, the threat of imminent harm is actually a component of domestic abuse. It’s part of that definition, but I talk about it separately here because it’s kind of a separate thing because it doesn’t require actual harm, just the threat of it. So what does and does not qualify? We’ve got a little bit of case law that goes into that.
So as far as the case law that we have, there’s one interesting case where one party was in Japan, the other party was in the United States, and the threat occurred over the phone where the threat was, I’m going to kill you. And the court had to decide, well, is that an eminent threat of physical harm? They already met the relationship requirement because they were married, but was that an imminent threat?
And the court said, “No, nobody could eminently fear harm when the party is in another country.” There was no reason to believe that they had access to somebody in that country that could do something harmful so that there was no reason for them to be in complete fear at that moment. So that court found that, yeah, there was a threat, yeah, the threat was physical harm, but it was not eminent. So the protective order was not granted under those circumstances.
Another case talked about a conditional threat. So if somebody says, “If you do that one more time, I’m going to kill you.” Is that a threat of imminent physical harm? The argument obviously made in the case was that it’s not. If the threat is conditional, then it’s not eminent. The court in that case though did not make that ruling. The court didn’t say that definitively, yes, if it’s a conditional threat, it’s not imminent. What the court said was that’s an important factor to consider among other things in determining whether a threat is eminent to physical harm.
So certainly that is a defense that people will want to raise if the threat is conditional that it’s not an eminent threat, but it’s not an automatic win on it. But don’t take my word for it. Don’t take my general advice. If you’ve got a protective order on either side pending, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances. So give me a call, 9189322800 or go online wirthlawoffice.com.