What are the steps for obtaining a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order?
The steps for getting a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order (SSOOPO) are similar to the steps involved with obtaining a domestic violence protection order. See The steps for getting a protection order. One major difference is that the petition for an SSOOPO must be filed with the general division of the court of common pleas, not the domestic relations division.1 Be sure to tell the clerk you need the forms to file for a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(2)
How much does it cost to get, modify, dismiss, or serve an order? Do I need a lawyer?
You cannot be charged any fee or cost in connection with filing for an SSOOPO, which includes filing your petition, getting an order issued, registering the order, modifying the order, enforcing the order or even dismissing/withdrawing the order. You also cannot be charged anything to have the order served by law enforcement, to request a witness subpoena from the judge for a hearing, or to get a certified copy of your order.1
However, the court can make the respondent (abuser) pay costs in connection with any of the above-mentioned actions.2
Although you do not need a lawyer to file for an SSOOPO, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, you may want to contact 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 OH Finding a Lawyer page.
1 Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2903.214(J)(1); 3113.31(J)(1)
2 Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2903.214(J)(2); 3113.31(J)(2)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
What happens if the abuser violates the order?
If you believe the SSOOPO has been violated, you can call the police. An abuser can be arrested for violating an SSOOPO. You can read about under what circumstances a violation would be a misdemeanor versus a felony on our Selected Ohio Statutes page. Note: If the abuser is prosecuted for violating the order, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the protection order was served on the defendant if the prosecutor can prove that the either the defendant was shown a copy of the protection order or that a judge, magistrate, or law enforcement officer informed the defendant that a protection order had been issued.1
Also, if your order had an electronic monitoring requirement, the judge can require that s/he be electronically monitored for up to 5 years (in addition to any other sentence s/he gets for the violation).2
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.27(D)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 2919.27(B)