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Know the Laws: Oklahoma

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

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A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from a family member, household member or someone with whom you have/had a dating relationship.

Basic information

back to topWhat are the grounds (reasons) for getting a protective order?

A protective order is a civil court order that is designed to stop violent and harassing behavior and to protect you and your family from the abuser.  You can file a petition for a protective order in Oklahoma for:

The person who is committing one of the above acts against you must be a family or household member (which includes the current spouse of your ex-spouse or someone you are/were dating).**  If someone has stalked you who is not a family or household member, you may qualify for a stalking protective order

* 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)
** 22 O.S. § 60.1(1),(4),(5)

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Oklahoma?

Domestic abuse, for the purposes of getting a protective order, is when a family or household member, or someone you have had a dating relationship with:

  • physically harms you or
  • threatens you with immediate physical harm.*
You can also get a protective order if a family or household member, or dating partner has harassed you.

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(1)

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

Harassment is when a family or household member or someone you have had a dating relationship with acts in a way that:

  • seriously annoys or alarms you for no good reason; and
  • reasonably causes you substantial (serious) emotional distress (harm).*
Things like obscene phone calls and fear of death or bodily injury could be considered harassment.**

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(3)
** 21 O.S. § 1172

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

Rape is when someone (other than your spouse) has sexual intercourse with you without your consent:

  • by force; or
  • if you are mentally incapacitated (for example, if you were drugged, unconscious, etc).
It can be committed by someone who is of the opposite sex or the same sex.

Rape by a spouse is defined as when your spouse threatens or uses force or violence to have intercourse with you.*

If you have been raped by a spouse or intimate partner, continue reading the rest of the information in the following sections.  Also, see our Marital / Partner Rape page for more information on rape within relationships.

* 21 O.S. § 1111(A) & (B)

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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.*
Note: The rest of the information in this section will discuss protective orders against someone who you are/were in with domestic violence relationship with (i.e., family/household member or intimate partner). To read more about protective orders against non-intimate partners and non-family members, go to our Stalking Protective Orders page.

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(2)

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

There are three types of protective orders available in Oklahoma.

An emergency temporary protective order can be granted to a victim of domestic abuse when the court is closed, such as late in the evening or on the weekends.  A police officer or sheriff can give you the petition to fill out and help you do so, if necessary.  Then the officer should notify a judge about your request and let you know if the judge approves it.  You can receive an emergency temporary order without the knowledge of the abuser, and without the abuser being present in the court or in police custody.   If the judge gives you the order, the police will notify the abuser.*

An emergency temporary order only lasts until the end of the next day that the court is open. To extend the order, on the first day that the court is open for business, you must file for an emergency ex parte order and a final protection order.*1

An emergency ex parte protection order can be granted if you file a petition at a district court during court business hours. It can be issued without the abuser’s knowledge or presence in the courthouse.  To get an ex parte order, the judge must believe that the order is necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.*2  An emergency ex parte order protects you until the hearing for your final protection order, which usually takes place within 14 days.  However, if the emergency protective order suspends the defendant’s child visitation rights (due to physical violence or the threat of abuse), the hearing for the final order may be scheduled within 3 days, instead of 14 days.*3

A final protection order order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser 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 abuser 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 abuser has a history of violating the orders of any court or governmental entity;
    • the abuser 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 abuser in any state.*4  Note: As of 2017, the protective order form does not have a space to check-off that a continuous order is requested.  You may want to specifically write that you are requesting this is in the petition, verbalize it in court to the judge, and come prepared with proof of the abuser's conviction record or proof of the prior order. 

When determining the length of the order, the judge can take into consideration the fact that the abuser has a history of domestic violence or a history of other violent acts.*4

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

* 22 O.S. §§ 60.16(C); 60.2(A)(2)
*1 22 O.S. § 60.3(C)
*2 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)
*3 22 O.S. § 60.4 (B)(1),(2)
*4 22 O.S. § 60.4(G)(1)

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Getting a protective order

back to topAm I eligible to file for a protective order?

You can seek legal protection from acts of domestic abuse committed by a "family or household member" or by someone with whom you have a dating relationship.  Specifically, you can seek protection from any of the following people:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse;
  • A present spouse of an ex-spouse (e.g., your ex-husband’s new wife);
  • Parents, grandparents, stepparents, adoptive parents, and foster parents;
  • Children, grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children, and foster children;
  • Anyone related to you by blood or marriage;
  • Anyone with whom you live/lived;
  • Someone with whom you have a biological child in common;* or
  • Someone you are dating or used to date.**  

Note: Minors who are 16 or 17 years old can file for a protection order themselves.  A minor who is under 16 years old must have an adult family or household member file on his/her behalf.***  A minor filing against an adult must file in a regular local court.  Anyone filing against a minor (age 13 or older) must file in the local court that has jurisdiction (power) over juvenile matters.****

Note: If the abuser is not a "family or household member" as is defined above, you may be eligible for a stalking protection order. See Stalking Protective Orders for more information.

* 22 O.S. § 60.1(1),(4)
** 22 O.S. § 60.1(1),(5)
*** 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)
**** 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)

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back to topCan I get a protective order against a same-sex partner?

In Oklahoma, you may apply for a protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to file for a protective order?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, or rape, which are explained here.

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back to topHow can a final protective order help me?

A final protection order may order the abuser 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 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;
  • Stop seeing your children if s/he has visitation rights* (Note: A protective order cannot determine child custody, visitation or visitation schedules, or child support.  However, the judge can temporarily suspend or modify an existing child visitation order to protect against threats of abuse or physical violence by the defendant or a threat to violate a custody order);*1
  • 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 abuser to pay for some/all of the costs if the judge thinks it is appropriate);*2
  • Use a 24-hour, real-time, GPS monitoring device;*3
  • Turn in all firearms and dangerous weapons;
  • Pay your attorney’s fees;*4
  • 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);*5 and/or
  • Do anything else the judge thinks is necessary for your protection.*6

* See Petition for Protective Order
*1 22 O.S. § 60.4(I)(1) 
*2 22 O.S. § 60.4(E)(1),(3)
*3 22 O.S. § 60.17
*4 22 O.S. § 60.2(C)(1)
*5 22.O.S. § 60.2(E)
*6 22 O.S. § 60.4(C)(1)

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

You can file a petition in the district court in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser lives, or in the county where the abuse took place.*  However, if you file for an ex parte order in one county, but there is a pending case for divorce, separate maintenance, guardianship, adoption or any other proceeding involving custody or visitation in a different county, the protective order case will be transferred and the hearing for the final protective order will be held in the same county in which the other case is pending.**

If you are being stalked and seeking a protection order against someone who is not a family or household member or an intimate (dating) partner, you must first file a complaint with law enforcement officials before filing the petition for a protective order in district court. (For the definition of a family or household member see Am I eligible to file for a protective order? ) You will have to provide the judge with a copy of the complaint you filed with the police at the full hearing for the protection order. If you do not present a copy of the complaint in court, your claim could be dismissed and you may be forced to pay the abuser's attorney's fees and/or other court fees.*

* 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)
** 22 O.S. § 60.3(D)

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back to topHow much does it cost to get a protective 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 with filling out the forms.**  However, you may wish to have a lawyer represent you.  Having a lawyer is especially important if the abuser 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.  Domestic violence organizations in your area may also be able to help you through the legal process and may have lawyer referrals.

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

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Steps for getting a final protective order

back to topStep 1: Go to district court and request a petition.

Go to the appropriate district court to file your petition. You can find a court near you by going to our OK Courthouse Locations page.

Note: If you are filing a petition for a protective order against a minor (ages 13-17), you will have to go to the Office of Juvenile Affairs District Court.  You can find your county by clicking on the OK Office of Juvenile Affairs page. 

Find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a protective order, and also tell the clerk if you need immediate protection and want an ex parte order.

Be sure to check the appropriate box for the type of order you are requesting, whether you only want a final order of protection or if you are also seeking an emergency ex parte protective order because you are in immediate and present danger.*

If the courts are closed, call the police and they can help you get an emergency temporary protective order that will last until the next business day when you can file with the court.*

You can also find links to petitions online by going to the OK Download Court Forms page. If you live in Tulsa County, there is a free, interactive computer system that can help you fill out your protection order forms. Visit www.icandocs.org/ok to access this computer system.

* 22 O.S. § 60.3(C)

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back to topStep 2: Bring photo ID for you and identifying information about the abuser.

When you go to the courthouse, remember to bring some form of identification. It is also helpful to bring identifying information about the abuser if you have it, such as:

  • a photo
  • addresses of residence and employment
  • phone numbers
  • a description and plate number of the abuser's car
  • any history of drugs or gun ownership.

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back to topStep 3: Fill out the necessary forms.

Carefully fill out the forms. On the complaint, you will be the "petitioner" and the abuser will be the "defendant."  Write about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation.  Be specific.  Include details and dates, if possible.

Be sure to write your name and a safe mailing address and phone number. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not a street address.

If you need assistance filling out the form, you can ask the clerk for help. Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you.  In some jurisdictions in Oklahoma, the court clerk frequently does not assist with protective order petitions and may provide documents only, even though the law* says the clerk should assist you if you ask him/her.  A domestic violence organization may also be able to provide you with help filling out the form.  In many areas, local DV organizations assist survivors with completing PO paperwork and are familiar with the usual practices of the courts in their areas.  To find a DV organization near you, go to our OK State and Local Programs page.

* See 22 O.S. § 60.2(D)

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back to topStep 4: The ex parte hearing

After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as s/he reviews your petition, which is known as an ex parte hearing, and will take place the same day.  The judge can issue an ex parte order if s/he finds necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.*  Either way, the judge will likely set a date for a hearing for the final protective order. You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing.

Note: The judge cannot require you to first file for a divorce, separation, paternity or criminal proceedings before s/he is willing to consider your petition for a protective order.**

* 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)
** 22 O.S. § 60.2(F)

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back to topStep 5: Service of process

In order for your protection order to be valid, the abuser must be served (given papers) that tell him/her about the hearing date and your emergency temporary ex parte order (if the judge gave you one).  If you are not able to have him/her served before your hearing date (e.g., if the sheriff can’t find him/her), you can ask the judge to postpone the hearing and issue a new emergency temporary order until the next hearing date.*  The judge is not supposed to dismiss your order just because the abuser wasn’t served yet.**

After you file for your order, the court will send copies of any protective orders and notices of hearing to the police or sheriff for service on the abuser.***  Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.

* 22. O.S. § 60.4(B)(3)
** 22 O.S. § 60.4(B)(5)
*** 22 O.S. § 60.4(A)(1)

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back to topStep 6: The final hearing

As the petitioner requesting a protection order, you must:

  1. Prove that the abuser has committed an act of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or harassment against you (as defined by the law);* and
  2. Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.**

You must go to the hearing if you want to keep your order.***  If you do not go to the hearing, your emergency ex parte order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a final protection order if you s/he was served with notice of the hearing date, or the judge may order a new hearing date.***

See the Preparing Your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

* 22 O.S. § 60.1
** 22 O.S. § 60.4
*** 22 O.S. § 60.4(B)(4)&(5)

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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. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers 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 Staying Safe.  Advocates at local domestic violence resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.  For a list of domestic violence centers, see our OK State and Local Programs page.

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back to topI was not granted a protective order. What are my options?

If you are not granted a protection order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you come up with a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. You will find a list of resources on our OK State and Local Programs page. You will also find information on safety planning on our Staying Safe page.

If you were not granted a protection order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a "family or household member," you may be able to seek protection through a stalking protective order. You will find more information about stalking protection orders in the Stalking Protective Orders section of our website.

You may also be able to reapply for a protection order if a new incident of domestic violence occurs after you are denied the order.

If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to someone at a domestic violence organization or a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals can be complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. For general information on appeals, go to our Filing Appeals page.

 

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

You can call the police even if you think it is a minor violation. The protection order can be violated if the abuser 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 abuser 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.  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 abuser has been served with the ex parte order or the final protective order and violates the order, s/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 abuser is convicted of violating the order for a second time, s/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  when violating the order, the abuser 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 abuser’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 abuser 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 topWhat if the abuser falsely files for a protective order against me?

It is against the law for anyone to file for a protective order against a spouse or ex-spouse for the purpose of harassment, intimidation, or to gain an advantage or limit the other parent’s child visitation rights in divorce or separation proceedings.*  The possible penalty could be that s/he could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sent to jail for up to a year and/or forced to pay a fine up to $5,000.*

* 22 O.S. § 60.4(H)(1)&(2)

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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 abuser 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 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, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in the area you are moving to or by calling the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111 x2).

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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