Hello, my name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa Fathers Rights Attorney and today I’d like to talk to you about Protective Orders. What are they and what’s the process? Well, Protective Orders are a type of injunction that carries criminal consequences, if you violate them they can be entered for certain very specific circumstances, which I’m going to talk to you about in just a moment.
The procedure for Protective Orders is under Title 22, which is a criminal procedure code. However, protective orders are not technically considered criminal proceedings. It is considered civil, but they do carry certain consequences and they can constrain your rights.
Protective Orders can be entered on a couple of grounds; obviously, if there’s domestic abuse going on if there’s the threat of domestic abuse. If there is a situation involving stalking, or if there is a situation involving harassment, or if there’s been a sexual assault. Those are the major reasons.
I’ll talk to you a little bit about the definitions of each. Domestic abuse is exactly what it sounds, it’s either if you have a romantic relationship, or a sexual relationship between two partners and one partner commits a violent act towards the other. If you have family members and one commits an act of violence against the other, that sort of situation, like a parent to child, husband to wife, grandparent to grandchild, grandchild to a grandparent, any of those are examples.
What about threats? Well, generally a threat will be defined as a specific statement of an intention to do imminent harm to another person. In other words, you say you’re going to punch them in the face, you’re going to stab them. And it has to be something that a reasonable person would perceive to mean that you would do imminent harm and where you are actually in a position that you have the capability to do imminent harm. An example of that is if you’re standing in the kitchen across from somebody with a butcher knife in your hand and you say I’m going to stab you, that would be a threat under the statute.
On the other hand, if you had that same knife in your hand and you called somebody in the Middle East and said you’re going to stab them, well it’s really not imminent because it would take you some time to get there and there’s some question about whether or not you can really take your butcher knife that far, and stab somebody. That’s essentially what a threat is.
Harassment is defined as basically a course of conduct where it would put a reasonable person… either cause them annoyance, fear, or mental disquiet. And it actually does cause the victim to experience that.
Stalking means the willful, malicious, repeated following or harassment of a person by an adult, an emancipated minor, or minor 13 years of age or older, in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and actually causes the person being followed, harassed, to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested. There’s kind of a dual aspect to that. And harassment’s the same way. It would have to cause a reasonable person to feel that way and it has to cause the victim to feel that way, that’s important. And it has to be a pattern of conduct in both cases, so a single one offense and shouldn’t lead to a Protective Order, although that’s not to say that it hasn’t happened.
When a Protective Order proceeding is initiated what happens is that whoever the alleged victim is is going to go to the court clerk and they’re going to file a petition for Protective Order, which is done on a particular kind of form. They’re going to basically write out a narrative and then check off a box that says what category they think it falls under. Once that’s filed, most of the time it’ll be taken directly to a judge who’s going to look at it and determine if there’s an emergency or not, and choose whether or not to enter an Emergency Order.
If an Emergency Order is entered, then that will be combined with the petition which will then be served on the defendant, which if you are the subject of a Protective Order and not the one who sought it out, this will probably be about the time when you will find out because you’ll get a knock at your door from the sheriff, who will serve you with your papers and instruct you that you’ve now been served and this Protective Order is binding on you and you need to stay away from the alleged victim.
There will also be a hearing date on that paperwork that will be where the court will hear evidence as to whether or not the order should become permanent, or I should say it should become a final order. If you’re served with a Protective Order, you need to get ahold of a lawyer immediately. These orders affect your rights. And if you have children with the alleged victim, that order could potentially prevent you from seeing your child, and it could affect your ability to exercise visitation going forward, as well as if you are seeking visitation, or custody, it is directly relevant under Title 43 whether or not you get visitation, or get custody. And if you are found to have engaged in an act of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment, or have threatened domestic abuse, there is a preponderance that works against you. There’s a presumption that works against you being allowed visitation, or allowed custody, other than supervised visitation. It’s important you get after that and get a lawyer.
Also, a Final Protective Order affects your ability to possess and purchase or carry a firearm. You can’t, under federal law, you can’t, while there’s a Final Protective Order in place. And under state law, if you do have a carry permit, you have to surrender it. It should be taken seriously.
If you find yourself served with a Protective Order, it is imperative, get a lawyer. Get ahold of us immediately. We can help you out with that, but you need to take care of it quickly because it can really jam you up, and the process is pretty quick, so you want to get ahold of a lawyer right away. Once you get ahold of us, we can look at different avenues for challenging, and including pursuing discovery, which in many cases you can lock the plaintiff into a story and it may help discredit them later, but it may also show them that you’re taking it seriously, it’s serious business and if this is a frivolous order, it might convince them that it’s not worth pursuing it anymore.
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa Fathers Rights Attorney and we’ve been talking about Protective Orders.