What are the reasons (grounds) 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. If the person who is committing the abuse against you is a current or former intimate partner or family or household member,1 you can file a petition for a protective order in Oklahoma if s/he committed any of the following against you:
- domestic abuse;
- stalking; or
- any other crime – but this only applies to adult crime victims, not minors.2
If you are being stalked by someone who is not a family or household member, you may qualify for a stalking protective order.
Additionally, you may be able to petition for protective order against someone who is not a family or household member if any of the following apply:
- If you are the immediate family member of a victim of first degree murder, you can file against the person who committed the murder; or
- If you are a victim of one of the following acts committed by anyone, regardless of your relationship to that person:
- forcible sodomy;
- a sex offense;
- assault and battery with a deadly weapon;3 or
- any other crime – but this only applies to adult crime victims, not minors.4
For more information, please see our Victim Protective Orders page.
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(2), (3), (6)
2 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)
3 22 O.S. § 60.2(G)
4 See Petition for Protective order
What 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.1
You can also get a protective order if a family or household member, or dating partner has harassed you.
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(1)
What is the legal definition of stalking in Oklahoma?
Stalking is when an adult or minor who is at least 13 years old1 willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harasses you or follows you, including with a tracking device, in a way that:
- would cause a “reasonable person” or a member of his/her immediate family to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered (molested); and
- actually causes that person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered (molested).2
It is important to understand the legal definitions of the terms in bold:
“Harasses” is defined as a pattern or course of conduct that includes, but is not limited to:
- repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, and that actually causes emotional distress to the victim;
- making obscene, threatening or harassing calls or other electronic communications; or
- committing malicious intimidation or harassment because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability.3
A “course of conduct” is defined as a series of two or more separate acts that includes any of the following:
- 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, text message, mail, electronic message, e-mail, or other electronic communications;
- placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property that you own, lease or occupy;
- tracking you with a GPS tracker or other device;
- causing your phone or electronic device, or the phone or electronic device of any other person, to ring or generate notifications repeatedly or continuously;
- photographing, videotaping, audiotaping, or, through any other electronic means, monitoring or recording your activities;
- sending you any physical or electronic material;
- contacting you by any means, including any message, comment, or other content posted on any Internet site or web application;
- sending your family/household member, your friend, or your current or former employer or coworker any physical or electronic material or contacting such person by any means, including any message, comment, or other content posted on any Internet site or web application, for the purpose of getting information about you, communicating with you, or spreading information about you;
- delivering an object to your family/household member, your friend, or your current or former employer or coworker, or placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by such a person with the intent that the object be delivered to you;
- contacting your employer, coworkers, or your neighbors; or
- causing someone else to do any of the acts described above.4
Unconsented contact means any contact by the stalker that is made without your consent or after you specifically asked that the contact stop. It includes, but is not limited to, the acts listed above in numbers 1 through 7.5
Note: The rest of the information in this section will discuss protective orders against someone who is a family/household member or intimate partner. To read more about protective orders due to stalking against non-intimate partners and non-family members, go to our Stalking Protective Orders page.
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(9)
2 21 O.S. § 1173(A)(1), (A)(2)
3 21 O.S. § 1173(F)(1)
4 21 O.S. § 1173(F)(2), (F)(6)
5 21 O.S. § 1173(F)(4)
What 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).1
Things like obscene phone calls and fear of death or bodily injury could be considered harassment.2
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(3)
2 21 O.S. § 1172
What 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.1
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.
1 21 O.S. § 1111(A) & (B)
What types of protective orders are available? How long do they last?
There are two types of protective orders available in Oklahoma.
An emergency ex parte order of protection can be granted without the abuser’s knowledge or presence in the courthouse.To get an ex parte order of protection, the judge must believe that the order is necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.1 An emergency ex parte order of protection protects you until the hearing for your final protective order, which usually takes place within 14 days. However, if the emergency ex parte order of protection 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 three days, instead of 14 days.2 If you need an order 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 and help you fill it out if necessary. The officer would notify a judge about your request and let you know if the judge approves it. If the judge issues an emergency temporary order, the officer should give you a copy of the petition and a written statement signed by the officer stating that the judge has approved the emergency temporary order of protection.3
A final protective 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:
- last up to five years (Note: Any time that the abuser was incarcerated during those five years do not count in calculating the five-year period); or
- 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);
- a court order for a final victim protection order has previously been issued against the abuser in any state; or
- the victim provides proof that a continuous protective order is necessary for his/her protection.4
Note: 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 five years can be extended. For more information, see How do I change or extend the protective order?
1 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)
2 22 O.S. § 60.4(B)(1), (B)(2)
3 22 O.S. §§ 60.16(C); 60.2(A)(2)
4 22 O.S. § 60.4(G)(1)
What protections can I get in a protective order?
The law says that a judge can issue “any” emergency ex parte order that the judge believes is necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.1 Specifically, in an emergency ex parte order of protection, the judge can order that the abuser:
- have no contact with you - in person, by phone, mail, electronically, or by any other means;
- stop abusing, sexually assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening you – and stop “otherwise interfering” with you;
- not use, attempt to use, or threaten to use physical force against you that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury;
- stop doing anything that would make you afraid that the abuser is going to physically injure you, a relative, or a household member;
- stay away from your home and allow the abuser to remove any clothing and other personal items from the home with a police officer there;
- allow you to get your clothing and personal items from the home with a police officer present if you will not be returning to live in the home that you shared with the abuser;
- move out of the home if you live together and take no action to change utilities or telephone service;
- stop seeing your children if s/he has visitation rights or make the visits supervised; however, the order will generally not create an order of child custody, visitation, or child support if one does not already exist;
- 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;
- turn in all firearms and dangerous weapons; and
- do anything else the judge thinks is necessary for your protection.2
If the judge issues an emergency temporary order of protection when the courts are closed, it can include the protections listed in numbers 1 through 4, above.3
A final protective order can do the following:
- include everything listed above in numbers 1 through 11;
- order that your cell phone provider or public utility provider transfer to you the billing responsibility for, and rights to, any wireless telephone numbers for you or your children and any household utility accounts;
- order that the abuser 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);
- order the abuser to use a 24-hour, real-time, GPS monitoring device; and
- pay your attorney’s fees and court costs.4
All ex parte and final orders will include the following additional warnings regardless of what the judge includes in each order:
- “The defendant must avoid the residence of the petitioner or any premises temporarily occupied by the petitioner;
- The defendant must avoid contact that harasses or intimidates the petitioner. Contact includes, but is not limited to, contact at the home, work, or school of the petitioner, public places, in person, by phone, in writing, by electronic communication or device, or in any other manner;
- The defendant shall not impersonate or adopt the personification of the petitioner by pretending to be the petitioner, ordering items, posting information or making inquiries, or publishing photographs of the petitioner, by use of social media, or by use of computer, telephone, texting, emailing, or by use of any electronic means;
- The defendant must refrain from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, mistreating, or disposing of a household pet;
- The defendant must allow the petitioner or a family member or household member of the petitioner acting on his or her behalf to retrieve a household pet;
- The defendant must avoid contacting the petitioner or causing any person other than an attorney for the petitioner or law enforcement officer to contact the petitioner unless the petitioner consents in writing.”5
1 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)
2 See Emergency Order of Protection on the Oklahoma Courts website
3 See Petition for Emergency Temporary Protective Order on the Oklahoma Courts website
4 22 O.S. §§ 60.4, 60.17, 60.2(C)(1),(E); see also Final Order of Protection on the Oklahoma Courts website
5 22 O.S. § 60.11(7)-(12)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.