Protective orders and restraining orders are the same things. Both are terms for protecting a potential victim by restraining or prohibiting the actions of another person. The terms can be used interchangeably. Violation of a protective order is considered a serious offense in Oklahoma.
What Is A Protective Order In Oklahoma?
Protective orders are often issued in the context of domestic abuse, harassment, or stalking. These orders vary in scope and duration. They can be issued on an emergency ex-parte basis, for a prescribed time, or for the duration of a person’s life.
Emergency ex-parte orders are most often issued by a judge immediately after an arrest, usually involving domestic abuse. A judge issues a very temporary order prohibiting contact until a more formal hearing can take place.
All other types of protective orders are issued only after a hearing where the person whose actions are being restrained is given the opportunity to defend against the issuance of the order. In a domestic situation, a court may issue mutual protective orders so that spouses or partners are protected from each other.
Elements Of Violation Of A Protective Order
Violating a protective order is a kind of finding of contempt against the restrained person. In order to find a person in contempt, the judge or jury must find that all elements of the crime have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If any element remains unproven, there can be no conviction.
Here are the elements of violating a protective order:
- the willful
- violation of a protective order
- served on the defendant.
The violation must be willful and intentional. If the violation is accidental, this opens a line of defense that a defendant should explore with their Tahlequah attorney.
Typical Prohibited Conduct
Often, a protective order prohibits all contact. It can lay out a list of types of prohibited contacts. However, if the order prohibits all contact, it means all contact — physical, via friend or family member, letters, telephone, or contacts on social media platforms.
Also, it can prohibit threats, harassment, stalking, and all violence toward a victim. For instance, it may prescribe that the perpetrator must stay at least 500 yards away from the victim, their home, or their place of work. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 §§ 60.1, 60.2
Also, protective orders can extend to family pets. A person can be restrained from taking a pet or using violence toward a pet as a way of harming the other party.
Sometimes, contact is accidental. You see each other on the street, in the grocery store, or in line at the post office. If that happens, exit the situation as soon as you notice the presence of the other person.
A violation occurs whenever any of the terms of the order are compromised and penalties are cumulative, escalating with each violation.
A first offense is a misdemeanor in Tahlequah. It is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
A subsequent violation of a protective order is punishable as a felony. The crime carries a sentence of one to three years in prison, a fine between $2,000 and $10,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.6
Penalties are enhanced if the violation causes injury or impairment.
You could spend 20 days to a year in jail, pay a fine of up to $5,000, or both for a first offense. For subsequent violations, you could spend one to five years in prison, pay a fine between $3,000 and $10,000, or both.
Courts do not like to have their orders violated. Thus, these sentences are not eligible for probation, deferred sentencing, or suspended sentencing.
Finally, a court can order you to wear a 24-hour GPS device.
If you are subject to a protective order, it is important that you fully understand the scope and duration of the order. If you have questions, ask an experienced Tahlequah attorney about how a protective order can affect you.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you are facing charges for violation of a protective order in Oklahoma.
For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll-free at 1-888-447-7262.
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