WHAT TO DO AFTER A VPO IS FILED AGAINST YOU?
A VPO is a Victim Protective Order, which is designed to do what it says, protect victims. However, unfortunately, it is also a tool that is often abused in child custody cases and toxic relationships. The most important step to do after having a VPO filed against you in Oklahoma is speak to an attorney and get an understanding of your options and your rights after having a VPO filed against you.
By statute, a victim protective order in Oklahoma is meant to protect victims of rape, harassment, stalking, or domestic abuse by their attacker or stalker. A minor can receive a victim protective order if a member of the household files on behalf of the minor. The statutes that deal with victim protective orders in Oklahoma are found in Title 22, Criminal Defense, Section 60.3.
What is the First Step after being served with a VPO?
The first step that must be taken after you are served with a victim protective order is to identify and meet with an experienced victim protective order attorney. The right defense attorney will be able to answer all of your questions and help you decide how to respond and determine your best course of action. When we represent a client facing a bogus allegation for a victim protective order, we do everything possible to have the VPO thrown out without a contested hearing. At the court appearance we will speak to the party brining the victim protective order and see if an agreement can be reached to have the protective order application dismissed without a hearing.
An experienced Oklahoma victim protective order attorney can file a response to the motion and or a motion to dismiss the protective order. You may be protected from a motion that can be considered frivolous and perhaps even recover costs for your defense from the plaintiff. This is a serious order that can affect your life deeply and personal freedoms and should be treated as such by retaining an experienced, well-versed legal team to fight for you.
What happens after a VPO is filed?
VPOs don’t actually “get filed”. What happens is the victim makes allegations in After a VPO is filed in Oklahoma, a judge will conduct an initial review of the allegations in the VPO and determine if they are sufficient on their face to grant an emergency VPO. During the initial evaluation of the case, the judge over the VPO will not consider whether or not the claims are believable or credible. The judge is only considering whether the claims could give rise to a claim for rape, domestic violence, stalking or harassment. When or if the VPO judge determines the claim for a victim protective order is sufficient on its face to meet the basis for a victim protective order, the VPO judge will grant an initial order and a hearing date will be set for the parties to appear in court.
Unlike the majority of cases in our court system, the VPO judge will consider the VPO Petition on the same date that it is filed! The VPO judge is not only considering whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support one the basis for a victim protective order, he or she is more importantly considering whether or not there is a present danger of rape, domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment. The emergency victim protective order, if granted, will only take effect, until a full hearing can be conducted.
What Happens at a VPO Hearing in Oklahoma?
At the actual VPO hearing, the defendant must be served with the petition before the hearing and be given an opportunity to hire a defense attorney and prepare for the VPO hearing. Once the defendant is served the hearing begins with the person seeking the protective order, Petitioner, presenting witnesses and evidence in support of the VPO. The defendant or defense attorney is allowed to ask questions of each witness and contest the evidence presented by the party seeking the protective order. Next the defendant to the protective order has the opportunity to present evidence in defense or in opposition to a protective.
At most victim protective order hearings the VPO judge will ask witnesses and the parties questions about the case in order to get a clear idea of the evidence. It is important to work with an experienced VPO attorney that knows the judge in your case and what the judge considers important in granting or denying a victim protective order. Our victim protective order hearings appear before the VPO judges in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, and Logan County regularly and have a good understanding of what each judge considers important in granting or denying a victim protective order.
Can a Victim Protective Order be Changed?
Yes, it is possible to go before the judge and seek reconsideration of a victim protective order or seek to have it moved to another county, if a child custody or divorce case is pending in that Court.
Are Victim Protective Orders Valid in other Jurisdictions?
Yes, a valid protective order has statewide validity in Oklahoma and may be transferred to any law enforcement jurisdiction to be enforced upon the defendant of the VPO. However, if the victim protective order is not recognized by another state then it is not valid there and the plaintiff would need to seek a new protective order.
Do People file Bogus Protective Orders?
Unfortunately the answer is yes, people abuse the system and file false claims seeking protective orders routinely. We have successfully defended multiple clients facing frivolous allegations to support a victim protective order. Family law judges look very harshly at parties that attempt to abuse the victim protective order process to seek an upper hand in a child custody or divorce case. As a result, attorney fees and other consequences can be brought against an individual that makes false allegations in an effort to support a victim protective order.
What Results from a Final Protective Order being Granted?
When a final protective order is granted against the defendant in a victim protective order case it can have serious consequences. For one, a final victim protective order is public record in Oklahoma and will be visible to anyone that searches your information on OSCN.net. Additionally, any person subject to a victim protective order is prohibited from possessing a firearm. In fact it is a federal crime to be in possession of a firearm when subject to a protective order. We have represented many clients in federal court charged with being a Prohibited Person from possessing a Firearm based solely upon being subject to a protective order in Oklahoma, while possessing a gun.
The most obvious consequences of having a victim protective order filed against you is that you will be prohibited from being at any location that the petitioner or plaintiff to the protective order is located. You wil not be able to return to your marital home or apartment, if you live with the petitioner to the protective order and the Court orders you to move out of the property. Additionally, if you are at a business, the gym or a restaurant and the plaintiff walks in you must leave or potentially be in violation of the protective order.
There may also be required domestic abuse counseling or treatment program certified by the Attorney General. It is also imperative to record everything and keep all paperwork to provide to the victim protective order lawyer you hire.
What Happens if I Violate the Final Protective Order?
In Oklahoma if law enforcement believes that you have violated a valid or final protective order then you may be charged with a crime, Violation of a Protective Order. In most instances this offense is a misdemeanor; however, you can still be arrested and face the potential of a conviction, jail time, and other consequences that stem from a criminal charge. You are presumed innocent, if charged with violation of protective order in Oklahoma.
However, it is very important to your future that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, if you are facing a violation of protective order case to protect your future and your rights. One of the great things about working with our team is that we handle all issues surrounding protective order cases. We represent clients simply facing victim protective orders, but we also handle family law and divorce cases, if that is an issue related to your victim protective order case.
Additionally, we handle criminal defense matters for clients across Oklahoma, including federal charges for being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm following a protective order and state cases for violation of a protective order. We hope that your victim protective order is handled fairly and that you never have to face these collateral issues, but if you udo it is important for your future to work with a legal team that has experienced and knowledge in the variety of issues that may stem from you victim protective order case.
Contact an Experienced VPO Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a VPO or expect a VPO may be filed against you, we are here for you. We offer free case strategy sessions to understand your circumstance and answer your questions about the process in a confidential setting, whether you decide to work with us or not. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL (405) 883-4427. We look forward to answering your questions.