The purpose of a Victim’s Protective Order, also known as a VPO or a restraining order, is to provide protection for victims of domestic violence, stalking and harassment, and sexual assault.

Although the intent is noble, there are cases in which a person attempts to file a protective order against another individual for reasons other than personal safety: for revenge or to gain an advantage in a custody dispute for example.

If you have been named in a VPO, or if you have a pending hearing regarding a permanent order of protection, finding legal counsel can protect you from having an order filed against you unnecessarily. Just as court records show misdemeanor and felony charges and convictions, these records also reveal  whether or not a person is subject to a protective order.

Whether you need help fighting a protective order or having a protective order expunged from your record, it is important to have an attorney advocating for you.

What does a protective order do?

A Victim’s Protective Order is a court order that demands a person to refrain from any form of contact with the petitioner and minor children seeking protection.

Forbidden contact includes not only physical contact, but also telephone contact, electronic communication, and written communication.

While protective orders cannot physically protect a victim of abuse or assault, they do provide serious penalties for anyone accused of violating the order. They also provide documentation of physical or sexual abuse that can be used in prosecuting a domestic violence or sex crime case.

What is the process for filing a restraining order?

Often an emergency protective order is filed against an abuser in a domestic violence situation that occurs when a courthouse is closed. The emergency orders remain in effect until the court opens. At that time, the petitioner must go to court to request an emergency ex parte protective order. If the ex parte order is granted, it remains in effect until a hearing to determine whether permanent orders will be granted.

A person may petition for ex parte orders without the knowledge of the person he or she is filing against. If approved, the subject of the orders will receive notice of the protective order and must adhere to the terms of the ex parte protective order until the hearing.

During this time, it is critical to observe the terms of the protective order and refrain from contact with the petitioner. Even if the protective order is unfair, do not jeopardize yourself by trying to contact the accuser to “clear things up.” Instead, contact an Oklahoma VPO lawyer who can work to dismiss an inappropriate VPO and who can represent you at a permanent protective order hearing.

What are the penalties for violating a protective order?

If you are notified that you have been named in a protective order, your first instinct may be to call the person who took out the order against you to try to explain the situation and convince him or her to drop the VPO.

However, under no circumstances should you contact the person who filed the order. Do not call, email, text, write, or visit the person in an effort to clear things up.

Instead, if you are the subject of a protective order, your first phone call should be to an attorney with experience in handling VPO representation.  Your lawyer can explain the terms of the order and can represent you at the hearing to determine whether the ex parte order will be continued as a permanent protective order or dismissed.

The penalties for violating a protective order depend upon whether the violation is a first offense (misdemeanor) or subsequent offense (felony):

  • A first offense of violating a VPO is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the violation results in injury to the person intended to be protected by the order, conviction carries a minimum sentence of 20 days in jail. This minimum jail term is in addition to any sentence associated with conviction of the assault that led to injury.
  • A second or subsequent offense of violating a protective order carries a sentence range of 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $10,000. If the subsequent violation results in injury, the sentence is increased to a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $10,000.

If you are accused of violating a protective order, your lawyer can provide defense representation that challenges evidence of a violation—including demonstrating that the person who filed the order actually contacted you in violation of the order.

VPO Expungement

For many people, the lasting record of a prior protective order can cause difficulty in securing employment or developing relationships. Fortunately, Oklahoma law allows for the expungement of a VPO record under certain circumstances, including after the dismissal or expiration of orders. Call Coventon Criminal Defense at (405) 417-3842 to learn more about protective order record expungement and for representation in clearing a protective order from your record.

Protective Order Representation: Oklahoma Criminal Defense

Whether you are fighting a wrongful VPO or whether you have been accused of violating a VPO, attorney Ryan Coventon can work for you. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about Oklahoma VPO defense.