Can You Get Prosecuted For Filing A False Oklahoma P.O?
Video Transcribed: Filing a false protective order in Oklahoma is a crime, but is it ever enforced? I’m Tulsa Attorney James Wirth and I’m about to explore that topic.
Okay, so filing for a false protective order in Oklahoma is illegal. First offense is a misdemeanor, second offense is a felony. Let me read the statutory words on that. “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and willfully seek a protective order against a spouse or ex spouse, pursuant to the protection of domestic abuse act for the purposes of harassment, undue advantage, intimidation or limitation of child visitation rights, in any divorce proceeding or separate action without justifiable cause.”
And then it notes that the punishment is up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for a first offense, and up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine for a subsequent offense.
Okay, so it does limit it though to a spouse or ex spouse under those circumstances, but even outside of this specific crime that is under the act that makes a protective order possible, if there is obviously perjury lying under oath, then that is something that can be criminal as well and that’s a felony for perjury.
Also, if there’s a police report involved, and it’s a false police report, that’s a misdemeanor in Oklahoma as well, but specific to domestic cases, there is a separate one because it has been a problem.
People have used protective orders to get benefits in domestic cases, because it’s relatively easy to do. Unfortunately, in order to air on the side of caution to protect people from domestic violence, judges have a tendency to grant them when they’re in doubt, and that means somebody can make the request to get a protective order, have it granted, it has immediate effects that could affect a domestic case.
They can basically have the child on the protective order, and automatically get physical possession of the child. If they’re living together, they can note that they reside in that house and have the person kicked out of the house.
So then they’re going into filing a divorce proceeding or a custody proceeding where they’ve already got a protective order that prevents the other party from being around the kid and their house, it can be a huge advantage. Because of that advantage that incentives people to file false protective orders, the statute wrote in a particular crime to address that issue.
So does it still happen? Is the crime enforced? In my opinion, we still see it all the time. People taking advantage by getting a protective order to get an advantage in a case. And is it ever prosecuted? Rarely if ever. I’ve never seen it prosecuted. It may have been, but I haven’t seen it yet, and certainly it can be, and the reason has to do with probably the same reason why judges have a tendency to grant these.
Nobody wants to go after somebody who is seeking protection, even if it may be a frivolous filing or for harassment. They want to be very careful not to do that, and maybe be over the line and actually be wrong about it, and go after someone who’s an actual victim because they don’t want to do anything that might prevent victims from coming forward and filing protective orders or seeking help from police.
So because of that, unfortunately we rarely see this enforced and we do, if we’re in the business, like I am, being an attorney that handles a protective order of representation. I commonly come across ones that I think, “This is pretty weak.
We’ve got a custody battle going on. I wonder what their motivations were here. Were they really in fear or were there other things involved?” But if you’re under these circumstances, don’t take my word from this general information about it. Get some specific information from an attorney regarding your circumstances.
If you want to speak with me, give me call 918-932-2800