What 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:
- repeatedly follows you or harasses you in a way that makes you feel scared, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested; or
- 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.1
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.1
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(2)
What 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.1
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:
- 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
- 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.2
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.2
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.
1 22 O.S. §§ 60.3(A), 60.4(B)(1)
2 22 O.S. § 60.4(G)(1)
What 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).1
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.2
1 22 O.S. § 60.1(2)
2 22 O.S. § 60.2(A)(1)
What protections can I get in a stalking protective order?
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;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 stalker to pay for some/all of the costs if the judge thinks it is appropriate);2
- Turn in all firearms and dangerous weapons;
- Pay your attorney’s fees;3
- 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);4
- 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.5
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
1 See Petition for Protective Order
2 22 O.S. § 60.4(E)(1)
3 22 O.S. § 60.2(C)(1)
4 22.O.S. § 60.2(E)
5 22 O.S. § 60.4(C)(1)
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.