Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale discusses the negative consequences of a Victim's Protective Order and why you should fight them. Laws change from time to time. This is for educational purposes and not legal advice.
The Court Has Broad Authority
We*ll start off by talking about a full hearing scenario. You*ve decided that you want to contest the petition for victim*s protective order. But at the end of the hearing, the judge ruled against you.
What does that mean for you? First, under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, a court may impose any terms and conditions in the protective order that the court *reasonably believes* will put a stop to abuse, stalking or harassment of the victim or the immediate family of the victim.
Court-Ordered Treatment Or Counseling For At Least A Year
Secondly, the court can order the defendant to get domestic abuse counseling or treatment in a program certified by the Attorney General at the expense of the defendant. This requires the defendant to attend the program for a minimum of 52 weeks, complete the program, and be evaluated before and after attendance of the program by a program counselor or a private counselor. Fifty-two weeks is a whole year. Not only that but if the petitioner decides to undergo domestic violence treatment or counseling, the court could order you to pay for all or some of that. That means you would have to pay for counseling or treatment for the person who alleged that you engaged in wrongdoing, such as domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.
Payment Of Attorney's Fees And Costs
Thirdly, the judge can order you to pay court costs, service of process costs, attorney*s fees, and other fees and costs associated with the case. So, as you can see, getting slapped with a victim*s protective order can cost you a lot of time and money. This is one reason why you should contact an attorney.
Court-Ordered Transfer Of Your Cell Or Utility Accounts
Fourth, the court can order that your cell phone and household utility providers transfer your account solely to the petitioner. What that means is that the court will ensure that a petitioner can maintain an existing cell phone number or household utility account.
The order can also direct the defendant*s cell phone service provider to transfer the billing responsibility for, and rights to, the cell phone number of any minor children in the petitioner*s care.
Getting a protective order against you can also have criminal implications. Federal law makes it illegal for a person who is subject to a protective order to possess, transport, ship, or receive any firearm or ammunition. The penalty for violating the law is up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Oklahoma law also provides for criminal charges for violating and ex parte or final victim*s protective order. The punishment for a first offense is confinement in jail for up to a year and or a fine of up to $1,000. The punishment for violating a protective order a second time or more after a previous conviction is one to three years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000 to $10,000.
So, you don*t want to set yourself up with a federal or state charge because you have a protective order against you. This is just another reason why you should hire an attorney and fight a victim*s protective order petition.
Negative Background Check
If you*re applying for a job or housing, a record of the Victim*s Protective Order may show up. Employers may be hesitant to hire you. Renters may turn you down for an apartment, office or house because a VPO is on your record.
How Long A Protective Order Can Last
So how long does a victim*s protective order last? Generally speaking, it can last for up to five years. It doesn*t have to last that long, but it can. And, if you are in jail or prison at the time that the protective order was issued, it can last even longer. That*s because the time that you are incarcerated for does not count in the calculation for the five-year limit.
There*s another instance in which a protective order can last LONGER than five years. In fact, it can exist it indefinitely if the judge determines that:
1) the person has a history of violating the orders of any court or governmental entity;
2) the person has previously been convicted of a violent felony offense;
3) the person has a previous felony conviction for stalking; or
4) a court order for a final Victim Protection Order has previously been issued against the person in this state or another state.
Further, the court may take into consideration whether the person has a history of domestic violence or a history of other violent acts. In other words, if none of those four factors apply to the defendant, the court can receive OTHER evidence of the defendant*s domestic violence history or history of other violent acts.
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