A Victim’s Protective Order, also known as a VPO or restraining order, is a legal order of protection for a person who has been a victim of a crime such stalking, harassment, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
While a VPO in Oklahoma is intended to protect a vulnerable and fearful person, there are sometimes cases when a person files for an order to exact revenge on someone else or even gain leverage in a situation like a custody dispute.
What does a VPO do?
A VPO is a court order requiring a person to abstain from 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. Violation of a VPO comes with severe penalties.
Filing a VPO in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, an emergency protective order can be filed against someone even when a courthouse is closed. The order then remains in effect until the court opens, after which the petitioner must ask the court for what’s known as an emergency ex parte protective order. If granted, the order remains in effect until a hearing can be held to decide if the order will be made permanent.
It’s important to note that a petitioner can seek an ex parte order without the other party knowing being aware of it. However, if the order is approved, the subject of the orders will receive a notice of the VPO and must abide by the terms until the hearing.
If you are the subject of the VPO, it is absolutely crucial that you adhere to the terms of the order, even if you are tempted to contact the person who has filed for the order, regardless of how unfair or unwarranted it may seem in your personal situation. Your first step should be to contact an Oklahoma VPO attorney for advisement and representation at your upcoming hearing.
Penalties for violating a VPO
Penalties for violating a VPO depend on if it’s a first offense (misdemeanor) or subsequent offense (felony):
- First offense – A maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, if the person protected by the order is injured by the offender, there is a minimum sentence of 20 days in jail in addition to any sentence stemming from a conviction from the assault.
- Subsequent offense – 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $10,000. If injury is involved, a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $10,000.
Do VPOs show up in court records in Oklahoma?
Yes. Along with things like misdemeanors and felonies, court records in Oklahoma will show if you are the subject of a VPO.
What to do if You Are the Subject of a VPO in Oklahoma
Again, if you have been named in a VPO, do not attempt to contact the person who has filed against you — whether in person or through text, email, social media, etc.
Your first move should be to contact an attorney with expertise in VPO representation. This is also true if you have been accused of violating a VPO. Attempting to handle a VPO on your own will leave you legally exposed in several ways.
The Right Representation Matters
The right attorney can make all the difference in your VPO case and its unique circumstances. Overman Legal Group, PLLC’s dedicated and award-winning attorneys are committed to your defense and will utilize every legal resource on your behalf until your matter is settled.
We understand the difficulties an unjustified VPO can inflict on aspects such as employment, community standing, and personal relationships. Our team has years of experience in fighting unwarranted VPOs and defending those wrongfully accused of violating them. We can also aid you in obtaining an expungement from your record if the VPO has been dismissed or expired.