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Know the Laws: Oklahoma

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Stalking Protective Orders

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A stalking protective order is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from a stalker with whom you do or do not have a relationship.

Basic info

back to topWhat is the legal definition of stalking in Oklahoma?

Stalking is when an adult or minor (who is 13 years old or older) does either of the following:

  1. repeatedly follows you or harasses you in a way that makes you feel scared, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested; or 
  2. commits a "course of conduct" that is made up of a series of two or more separate acts or unconsented contact with you that occur over a period of time (but it can be a short period of time).  The contact must be have begun or been continued by the stalker without your consent or in disregard of your expressed desire to avoid or discontinue the contact.* 

Unconsented contact or a course of conduct (acts) can include, but is not limited to, the following example:

  • following you or appearing within your sight;
  • approaching or confronting you in a public place or on private property,
  • appearing at your workplace or home,
  • entering onto or remaining on property that you own, lease, or occupy,
  • contacting you by telephone,
  • sending you mail or electronic communications (e.g., email), or
  • placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property that you own, lease or occupy.*

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(2)

 

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back to topWhat is a stalking protective order? What steps must I take before filing for the order?

A stalking protection order is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from a stalker by ordering him/her to stop following you and threatening you.  Even though you use the same petition as a protective order for domestic abuse to file for a stalking order, you do not need to have a "family or household member" relationship with the stalker in order to file for a protection order against him/her (although if you do have that type of relationship, you could still apply for this order).*  

However, if you are applying against someone who is not a family/household member or a dating partner, you must first file a complaint against the stalker with law enforcement before filing for the order in district court.  You must provide a copy of that complaint at the full hearing.  If you do not provide a copy of the complaint that you filed with the law enforcement agency, your petition can be considered "frivolous" and the judge can order you to pay attorney fees and court costs.**

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(2)
** 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)

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back to topWhat types of orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of stalking protective orders available.

An emergency ex parte protective order is a short-term protection order that is granted because a judge decides it is necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of stalking. It is granted after a hearing the same day you file the petition. This can be done without the stalker’s knowledge or presence at the hearing. This protective order will remain in effect until after a full hearing is conducted for the final order of protection, which usually takes place within 14 days.*

A final protection order order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the stalker both have the right to be present and the right to present evidence.  A final order can either:

  1. last up to 5 years (Note: any time that the stalker was incarcerated during those five years do not count in calculating the five-year period); or
  2. be a continuous order (with no specific end date) if the judge finds that any of the following are true:
    • the stalker has a history of violating the orders of any court or governmental entity;
    • the stalker has previously been convicted of any violent felony offense or felony stalking (see (B) of the statute); or
    • a court order for a final victim protection order has previously been issued against the stalker in any state.**

When determining the length of the order, the judge can take into consideration the fact that the stalker has a history of domestic violence or a history of other violent acts.**

An order that lasts up to 5 years can be extended.  For more information, see How do I change or extend the protective order?

You may want to have a lawyer present at your hearing, especially if you believe the stalker will have one.  For free and paid legal referrals, go to our OK Finding a Lawyer page.

* 22 O.S. §§ 60.3(A), 60.4(B)(1)
** 22 O.S. § 60.4(G)(1)

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back to topHow can a stalking protective order help me?

The following is a list of things that a judge can include in a protection order – however, some of these may not apply to you if you do not live with the stalker or have children in common with the stalker.

A stalking protection order may order the stalker to:

  • Have no contact with you either in person, by phone, mail or electronically;
  • Stop abusing, sexually assaulting, harassing, stalking or threatening you;
  • Stay away from your house;
  • Move out of the house if you live together and take no action to change utilities or telephone service;
  • Stop seeing your children if he has visitation rights (in other words, the judge can suspend or modify (change) a current child visitation order to protect the children from threats of abuse or physical violence or a threat to violate a custody order);
  • Use a 24-hour, real-time, GPS monitoring device;*
  • Attend domestic abuse counseling or treatment (Note: Although you cannot be ordered to go to counseling or treatment, if you choose to do so, the judge can order the stalker to pay for some/all of the costs if the judge thinks it is appropriate);*1 
  • Turn in all firearms and dangerous weapons;
  • Pay your attorney’s fees;*2
  • Stay away from, have no contact with, and be prohibited from taking, giving away, harassing, threatening, or attacking any animal owned or kept by you, the defendant, or a child living in the either of your homes (and the judge can give you sole possession of the animal);*3
  • Stop doing anything that would make you make you afraid that the abuser is going to physically injure you, a relative or a household member;
  • Stay away from your house if the abuser was living there and only allow the abuser to remove his clothing and other personal items from the house with a police officer there;
  • May order that an officer come with you to get your clothing and personal items from the home if you will not be returning to the home that you shared with the abuser; and/or
  • May order anything else the court thinks is necessary for your protection.*4

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

* See Petition for Protective Order
*1 22 O.S. § 60.4(E)(1)
*2 22 O.S. § 60.2(C)(1)
*3 22.O.S. § 60.2(E)
*4 22 O.S. § 60.4(C)(1)

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Getting a stalking protective order

back to topIn which county can I file for a stalking protective order?

You can file a petition either in the district court in the county where you live, where the stalking took place, or where the stalker lives.  Remember, before filing for a stalking protective order against someone who is not a family or household member, you must file a complaint against the stalker with law enforcement.*

* 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)

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back to topHow much does it cost to get a stalking order? Do I need a lawyer?

Generally, there are no fees for filing for a protection order. However, if the judge finds that the order was filed for frivolous (invalid) reasons, s/he may order you (the petitioner) to pay court costs and/ or the defendant’s attorney fees.*

You do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order. If you are filing on your own and you need help, you can ask the court clerk, victim-witness coordinator, victim support person, or a court case manager for assistance in filling out the forms.**  However, you may wish to have a lawyer represent you.  Having a lawyer is especially important if the stalker has a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance on our OK Finding a Lawyer page.

* 22 O.S. § 60.2(C)(1) & (2)
** See 22 O.S. § 60.2(D)

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back to topWhat are the steps for filing for a stalking protective order?

The steps for filing for a stalking protection order are generally the same as the steps for filing for a protection order for domestic abuse.  See What are the steps for getting a final protective order? for a more detailed description of those steps.  However, there is one major difference: If the stalker is not a "family or household member" and not someone who you have dated, then before filing a petition for a protective order at the district court, you will first have to file a complaint against the stalker with your local law enforcement agency.

You will be asked to provide a copy of the complaint when filing your petition for the protective order.  If you don’t have the complaint copy when you file the petition, you must bring it to court at the final hearing date – if you don’t have it then, your case will be considered a “frivolous case” and the judge can drop your protective order, and order you to pay the stalker’s attorneys fees and court costs.*

If the stalker is a "family or household member" or someone who you have dated, you do not have to file a complaint with the police before seeking a protection order based on stalking or any form of abuse.

To get help through this process, you can contact a local domestic violence organization or legal services organization in your area. Go to our OK Where to Get Help page to find one near you.

* 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)

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After the hearing

back to topWhat should I do when I leave the courthouse?

You should review the order before you leave the courthouse.  If something is wrong or missing, you might want to ask the clerk how to get it corrected.  Here are some additional things that you may want to do after leaving the courthouse:

  • Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in, and protected by, the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, you might want to take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.
  • Be aware of your safety while leaving the courthouse.  If you are concerned that the abuser may try to approach you, contact a court officer to see if you can be accompanied to your car.

You may also wish to make a safety plan. Many people obey protection orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips for Stalking Victims

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back to topWhat can I do if the stalker violates the order?

You can call the police or sheriff, even if you think it is a minor violation. The protection order can be violated if the stalker does not follow every provision in the order. It can be a crime and s/he can be “held in contempt of court” if the stalker knowingly violates the order in any way. If you file a petition in the court that issued the order for contempt, the judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court (disobeying a court order). You can file for this even if the police don’t make an arrest or file criminal charges.

If you do call the police, it is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officers and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case. It is also important to have a copy of the protective order with you at all times. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it could help you have the order extended or modified.

If the stalker has been served with the ex parte order or the final protective order and violates the order, he can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can be forced to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and/or go to jail for up to 1 year. If the stalker is convicted of violating the order for a second time, he can be found guilty of a felony and have to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 and/or be put in jail for 1-3 years.*

If the stalker has been served with the order and violates the order and causes physical injury to you or anyone else who is protected by the order, s/he can be guilty of a misdemeanor and sent to jail for anywhere from 20 days to 1 year and, additionally, be forced to pay a fine of up to $5,000. If this is the stalker’s second conviction for violating the order and causing physical injury s/he could be guilty of a felony and can be put in jail for 1-5 years and/or be forced to pay between $3,000-$10,000.  A judge or jury will decide how much time the stalker should spend in jail based on how bad the injuries s/he caused were.*

* 22 O.S. § 60.6 (A)(1)&(2), (B)(1)-(3)

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back to topHow do I change or extend the protective order?

Only a judge can modify (change) or extend a protection order. If you want to change the terms of your order, you will have to go back to the court where the order was issued, and file a motion to modify the order with the clerk of court. The stalker will then be served with a copy of the papers you file and will have the opportunity to be present at the court hearing where the judge will decide whether or not to change it.*

If you would like to extend your protection order, remember to file a motion at the court before the original order expires.

* 22 O.S. § 60.4(G)(3)

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back to topWhat happens if I move?

Your stalking protection order is good everywhere in the state of Oklahoma and in all other states.* Federal law provides what is called "full faith and credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.**

Different states may have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You can find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program (if the stalker is an intimate partner) or the Stalking Resource Center. You may also try calling the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in the area you are moving to or by calling the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2).

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page

* 22 O.S. § 60.7
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a)&(b)

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back to topWhere can I find additional information on stalking?

For information on how to stay safe from a stalker, you can go to our Safety Tips for Stalking Victims page.  Additionally, see our Stalking/Cyberstalking page for more information.  

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