How to Fight A Restraining Order
Legally known as a protective order, restraining orders serve to keep people apart when tensions run so high someone is likely to get hurt or suffer emotional distress as the result of someone else’s intentional behavior. Restraining orders, or protective orders, are most often issued in domestic situations where conflict between intimate partners, husband and wife or among other family members has raged out of control.
All too often, though, a person may file a petition for a protective order when there is no legal basis and no actual threat. Protective orders might be filed out of vengeance and retribution or out of misunderstanding of what the law allows and requires. A person might claim to be a victim of domestic abuse or stalking and seek an emergency ex parte order againt another, but that does not mean the accused person will be the subject of a Final Order for Protection.
Before a court issues a Final Order for Protection, the person named in the restraining order has a right to a day in court. At that court appearance, a Tulsa restraining order defense attorney can present evidence that the petition for a protective order did not satisfy requirements of Oklahoma law. Chances of prevailing at a protective order hearing depend on the weight of evidence and how it is presented. An experienced Tulsa restraining order defense attorney can examine the facts of your case and, when the evidence and law is on your side, advise you the best way to win your case.
Why Fight a Restraining Order?
People choose to fight a restraining order in Oklahoma for numerous reasons. Foremost, a person named in a restraining order might not have actually stalked, harrassed or committed an act of domestic violence or rape against the person seeking a restraining order. Restraining orders can affect a parent’s ability to visit children without supervision. Failure to fight a restraining order can result in loss of certain civil rights, including the right to posess firearms, the right to access property shared with the person seeking the protective order and even access to jointly owned pets or livestock.
Violation of a protective order can result in severe penalties. A petition for a protective order is a criminal procedure in Oklahoma, but a person named in a protective order is not guilty of a crime, per se. Violation of a protective order, on the other hand, is a criminal act with misdemeanor or felony penalties as much as $10,000 and five years in prison upon two or more convictions.
A protective order can remain in place for as long as five years, and may only be issued after a hearing where both parties may present evidence. Emergency restraining orders are generally easier for a person to obtain because the orders are granted in a hearing where only one party is present – hence they are “ex parte” or one-side-only hearings. Without an opportunity to hear the other side, a court may rely much more heavily on the testimony or claims of the person who petitions for a restraining order.
Another common scenario is for parties to file mutual emergency ex parte orders against each other. When mutual allegations and petitions for protective orders are presented, courts may consolidate hearings and make decisions on both petitions at the same time. Courts many only consolidate hearings when there is evidence of abuse, stalking, harrassment or rape against each party and each party has acted as aggressors. Courts may not issue mutual protective orders even though both parties might mutually petition for restraining orders.
Defenses Against a Protective Order
Petitions for protetive orders sometimes fail because the petitioner’s testimony did not support the allegations in the protective order. If the alleged stalking, harrassment or domestic abuse is not supported by adequate evidence or testimony, a court must decline to issue an final order for protection. Allegations in petitions for protective orders tend to be among the more contentious and potentially convoluted of any subject courts are asked to decide. A person might actually feel threatened, stalked or harrased for reasons other than an action taken by the accused.
If a person seeks a restraining order based on stalking against someone who is not a family member or in a dating relationship with the person named in the petition for protective order, the petition must include a copy of a police report documenting a complaint against the subject of the restraining order.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Restraining Order Defense Lawyer
If you have been served an emergency order for protection, you have only a limited amount of time to tell your side of the story. It is absolutely essential that you comply with terms of the order. Do not talk to or attempt to contact the person who filed the restraining order. Instead, call a lawyer. Get the law on your side.
For a free consultation with a Tulsa protective order defense attorney, call Criminal Defense Law Office of Tulsa at (918) 256-3400 or rush your question to us via email using the form at the top of this page.