Protective orders, also known as restraining orders, can be a crucial legal tool for individuals facing domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, or other forms of violence. In Oklahoma, the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act provides a framework for obtaining protective orders to help safeguard victims and provide legal remedies. In this blog post, we'll explore key aspects of protective orders in Oklahoma, including eligibility, the filing process, and important considerations.
Who Can Seek a Protective Order in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, several categories of individuals are eligible to seek relief under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act:
- Victims of domestic abuse
- Victims of stalking
- Victims of harassment
- Any adult or emancipated minor household member on behalf of another minor or incompetent family or household member Minors aged sixteen (16
Where to File a Protective Order Petition:
Once you determine your eligibility for a protective order, the next step is to file a petition. In Oklahoma, you can file a protective order petition in one of the following counties:
- The county where you, the victim, reside.
- The county where the defendant (the alleged abuser) resides.
- The county where the domestic violence or related offense occurred.
If you are not a family or household member or someone who has been in a dating relationship with the defendant, you must first file a complaint against the defendant with the appropriate law enforcement agency before filing a petition for a protective order in the district court.
Providing a Copy of the Complaint:
It's crucial to provide a copy of the complaint that you filed with the law enforcement agency during the full hearing if the complaint is not available from the law enforcement agency. Failure to provide this copy may result in the court assessing attorney fees and court costs against you as the plaintiff.
Jurisdiction and Venue:
Filing a petition for a protective order does not require jurisdiction or venue of the criminal offense if either you or the defendant resides in the county where you are filing the petition.
Filing in Divorce or Separate Maintenance Actions:
In some cases, a divorce or separate maintenance action may be pending when you decide to file a petition for a protective order in the same county. The court handling the divorce or separate maintenance action may hear the petition for the protective order under certain circumstances. However, it's important to note that the protective order action remains separate, and a separate order will be issued. The court may dismiss protective orders in favor of restraining orders in the divorce or separate maintenance action if it is determined to be in the best interests of the parties and does not compromise the safety of any petitioner.
If the defendant is a minor child, the petition shall be filed with the court having jurisdiction over juvenile matters.
Protective orders in Oklahoma are a vital legal tool to protect victims of domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, and related offenses. Understanding the eligibility criteria, filing process, and relevant considerations is essential for those seeking legal protection. If you or someone you know is in need of a protective order, contact the attorneys at Brown & Flesch, PLLC for assistance at (405) 548-1970.