Oklahoma City Restraining Order Lawyer
The legal process should hold accountable those who harass, assault, and commit other aggressive crimes against those close to them. However, that process can take time, which sometimes leaves victims vulnerable. Fortunately, the law provides a means for victims to find some level of protection while they wait for justice to be served. Restraining orders offer a measure of protection for victims. However, given the seriousness of these orders, they aren’t just handed out with ease. Victims will need to prove that there is a real need for the orders to be served. At Stange Law Firm, we can help victims make that case.
Who May Need a Restraining Order?
Restraining orders are also known as protective orders in Oklahoma City. They are designed to protect victims of particular crimes, usually those where there is some kind of personal relationship or familiarity on the part of the accused. As such, there are a few common circumstances that these orders are designed to address, including:
- Domestic Violence – In most cases of domestic violence, there is an established familial or romantic relationship that connects victim and abuser. Generally, domestic violence involves someone who is threatening, attempting to cause, or actually causing physical harm to another person.
- Stalking – Stalking is a case where a prior, established relationship is not necessary, though it does require a pattern of behavior. It involves a situation where a person regularly engages in contact with another person when that individual has not consented to it or has expressed a desire to not interact with the stalker. The repeated behavior that constitutes stalking could be following, harassing, terrorizing, or intimidating the victim. In short, it involves anything that would lead a reasonable person to feel threatened by the stalker.
- Harassment – Harassment is also typically a pattern of behavior, although it can occasionally be a particularly egregious incident. Harassment is an action that apparently gives the harasser some kind of satisfaction, sometimes by causing fear in the victim, but it serves no other legitimate purpose. It must be something that would lead to emotional distress for any reasonable person.
Types of Restraining Orders
Restraining orders in Oklahoma follow a process. There are three different kinds of protective orders, each building upon the prior one. This process is meant to offer some level of protection to the victim while also protecting the rights of the accused. The orders increase in terms of both the span of time covered and the legal process involved before they are issued. The three kinds of protective orders in Oklahoma are:
- Emergency Temporary Protective Order – This kind of order is handed out when the courts are closed. At times, these kinds of orders are necessary because protection for a victim can’t wait until a broader hearing can be held. These orders tend to be more boilerplate, and they last only until the courts open again and the proper process can be initiated.
- Emergency Ex-Parte Protective Order – To give full protective orders, a hearing that allows both sides to make their case is necessary. However, the accused should be afforded some warning before that time. In the interim, though, the alleged victim is given protection through these orders. All that is necessary for these orders, and to move on to a full hearing, is for the victim to present enough evidence to show that they are warranted.
- Final Protective Order – During a hearing, both sides can make their case. If the judge feels that the protective orders are necessary, they will issue them at that time. Final protective orders typically last for years and can often be extended.
Restraining Order Restrictions
Restraining orders come with a wide variety of restrictions and requirements for the accused. The final orders that are handed down after the hearing generally follow some standards, but these may be adjusted or added to as the court sees fit. Some of these restrictions may include:
- There can be no contact between the accused and the victim, including through the use of electronic means such as email, text messages, or social media.
- The accused will be told to vacate the residence if the parties involved live together.
- If the parties have any children together, custody will most likely be given to the victim, and contact restrictions may extend to the children as well.
- Any pets involved may be given solely to the victim.
- Any firearms or dangerous weapons that the accused owns will have to be turned over, and they will be prohibited from owning such weapons for the duration of the order.
- The accused may be ordered to pay for the victim’s court costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses.
- The accused could be required to continue to pay bills and expenses for the victim.
- The accused could be ordered to attend counseling and/or therapy.
What a Lawyer Can Do to Help
The key to getting a restraining order is being able to persuade the court of its necessity. This is not the same as getting a criminal conviction. One must simply persuade the judge that there is enough risk present that a protective order is required to ensure a victim’s safety. That means gathering evidence and presenting it to the court. This could be some kind of physical evidence, digital evidence or data, or witness testimony.
At Stange Law Firm, we can help gather this evidence and present it to the court. We understand how difficult a situation can be for the victims who need the protection of a restraining order. Our firm works to ensure that we are able to gather a sufficient amount of evidence to make the case while balancing the sensitivity that is necessary in the situation.
Anything you can document about your situation will be helpful to your case, though we understand and respect how difficult it can be to relive those things. We can also gather police reports, photographic or video evidence of the wrongdoing in question, any audio that exists, or anything else that may be helpful to your case.
During the hearing, our team can present the case on your behalf. We can show the court the evidence for your side and challenge the prosecution’s interrogation of it. The defense will also get a chance to present their side. We are prepared for that, though, and can counter their argument. Our goal is to get you the protection that you’re seeking.
What Happens When a Restraining Order Is Violated?
A violation of a restraining order is a serious issue. In Oklahoma, it is charged as a crime. They are also not considered to be eligible for any kind of probation or suspended sentence. In some cases, the court could even order the defendant to wear a GPS device, which would monitor their location at all times.
In most cases, a first violation will be charged as a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses, though, are upgraded to felony charges. A misdemeanor violation can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. A felony conviction can lead to a fine of between $2000 and $10,000 and a prison sentence of one to three years.
The penalties are escalated if there is a physical injury as a result of the violation. In these cases, depending upon the nature of the violation and the seriousness of the injury, a first offense may still result in just a misdemeanor. However, it will be punishable by a fine as high as $5000 and a minimum of 20 days in jail. Further convictions are penalized with a fine between $3000 and $10,000, along with a prison sentence of one to five years.
A conviction for violating a restraining order means that the defendant will have a criminal record. This will come up on background checks and can have a negative impact on someone’s career, finances, education, and even social life. Given everything that’s at stake, the state of Oklahoma has ensured that a protective order carries a lot of weight and that violations are not worth the cost.
If You Need a Restraining or Protective Order, We Can Help
It’s often a frightening time when you need a restraining order. It may be that things have reached a point where you can’t take it anymore and you need to get free of a bad situation. It could also be the result of something that is out of character and unforeseen. Either way, it’s typically a circumstance that involves a lot of emotion and uncertainty.
At Stange Law Firm, we understand how difficult these situations can be and are sensitive to everything that you must be going through. Most victims in these circumstances are not in the headspace to wrap their minds around complex legal processes and procedures. We understand that you need the protections that a restraining order offers, without having the process cause you extra stress. We can help you seek a restraining order while minimizing your need to be involved, leaving you the space you need to deal with everything you’re experiencing. Contact us today for help with your situation.
Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City), Oklahoma Office (405-594-0633) | 2601 Northwest Expy, Suite 411 W, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112