Victim Protective Orders (VPO) can have as great, if not greater a negative impact on your personal and professional life as a criminal conviction. Many employers conduct criminal background checks through OSBI and other databases on potential employees. Having a will VPO or Restraining Order may cause an employer to pass on potential employees simply because of a former protective order. Unfortunately, VPOs can be filed without due process, i.e. ex parte, and an actual hearing is scheduled at a later date. In many instances the plaintiff that filed a VPO will change their mind or fail to appear and prosecute the VPO, which results in a dismissal.
Although the VPO was dismissed, it is still a blemish on your record that is available for anyone to see. Fortunately, the expungement laws afford you the ability to seal or expunge a victim protective order and protect your privacy. In fact, the process for expunging a VPO is very similar to expunging a misdemeanor or felony case and the outcome, if successful, is the removal of all public record of your victim protective order or restraining order.
Expunging a Protective Order in Oklahoma
The law that governs eligibility for expungement of a victim protective order, VPO, or restraining order is found at OKLA. STAT. 22 Section 60.18. The statute identifies four circumstances, any of which, making a defendant in a protective order eligible for expungement of their VPO:
- An ex parte order was issued to the plaintiff but later terminated due to dismissal of the petition before the full hearing, or denial of the petition upon full hearing, or failure of the plaintiff to appear for full hearing, and at least ninety (90) days have passed since the date set for full hearing;
- The plaintiff filed an application for a victim protective order and failed to appear for the full hearing and at least ninety (90) days have passed since the date last set by the court for the full hearing, including the last date set for any continuance, postponement or rescheduling of the hearing;
- The plaintiff or defendant has had the order vacated and three (3) years have passed since the order to vacate was entered; or
- The plaintiff or defendant is deceased.
Terms in VPO Expungement
Expungement: expungement in the VPO context means sealing the victim protective order (VPO) court records from public inspection, however, law enforcement agencies, the court, and the district attorney will still have access to the information.
Plaintiff: plaintiff in a victim protective order (VPO) is the party that filed the action.
Defendant: defendant in a victim protective order (VPO) is the person or persons that the victim protective order (VPO) is brought against, i.e. the alleged harasser or perpetrator of threats or violence.
How Can I Expunge a Victim Protective Order?
In order to expunge a victim protective order (VPO), you must file a petition for expungement in the district court where the protective order was filed. Following filing a petition for expungement, the defendant must notify the petitioner / plaintiff in the protective order. So, the plaintiff may have the opportunity to object to the expungement. The plaintiff may provide a written objection within 30 days of notice of the petition for expungement of the victim protective order.
Once the parties have presented their position, the court will schedule a hearing outside of thirty days, which is intended to give all interested parties sufficient notice to prepare and appear to support or object to the expungement. The district attorney is an interested party and has the opportunity to appear and object to the expungement. The court will order the expungement and sealing of the records, if the Court determines the privacy interests are not outweighed by the risk of expungement and the public interest in the information being available.
It is important for your chances of success to retain an experienced expungement attorney to fight for your cause, especially when the plaintiff in the victim protective order (VPO) has the right to appear and object to the expungement and sealing of the records.
Contact our Fierce Advocates – Oklahoma Expungement Attorneys today
Contact Cannon & Associates now if you are interested in an expungement in Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for hundreds of clients evidenced by John receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb) and being identified as a Super Lawyer. Call our office at (405) 657-2323 or Fill out the Form on this PAGE NOW for a free confidential case evaluation.