There are consequences if someone files a false protective order in Oklahoma. Protective orders are essential for victims of abuse to stay safe. When a court issues a protective order against a person who has abused, stalked, or harassed a victim, generally, the abuser faces legal penalties for contacting the victim, thus providing a measure of safety for those who feel threatened. For instance, an individual could obtain an order of protection against a violent romantic partner who threatens their safety.
Unfortunately, someone who is not a victim of abuse, stalking, harassment, or threatening behavior could take advantage of the legal system and file a false protective order. An improper protective order could harm the subject, tarnishing their reputation and restricting their freedoms.
What Is A Protective Order?
People who face domestic violence and stalking can obtain protective orders, or restraining orders, in Oklahoma. These orders can be temporary or permanent and last up to 5 years if issued by the court. Typically, the order prohibits an individual from going near or contacting the victim. Protective orders can also mandate that an individual vacate a shared residence or cease threatening, harassing, harming, and stalking the victim.
The order requires a family relation between the people can also be used to protect minor children. For instance, when one parent is abusive, the other parent could obtain a restraining order against their partner, and the order could also protect the children.
People can file a petition in county court to secure an order of protection. The court can give the individual a temporary restraining order even if the alleged abuser is not in court. But soon after the ex-parte order is issued the accused person is given a trial with evidence and witnesses being required to appear and testify.
What Is A Fake Protective Order?
According to Cornell Law School, a frivolous claim is a legal action intended to distress, hinder or embarrass the opposition. Critically, frivolous claims have no foundation in law or fact. A petition can be frivolous when it arises from fictitious events or no law supports it.
A court might find that a protective order is frivolous when the petitioner has made incorrect allegations or when the subject of the protective order did not abuse, harass, or stalk the victim. The courts are clear that a protection order cannot be used to determine child custody. Rather, if a child is placed on a protection order the parent must take the child off and file an emergency custody case.
For instance, suppose a couple decides to end their marriage or relationship because one partner had an affair. The cheated partner alleges physical abuse and asks the court for an order of protection, intending to get back at their ex-spouse. If the court finds that there is no basis for the petition, the court might deem it frivolous or a false protective order. As a result, the court could dismiss the action and order the petitioner to pay the attorney fees of the subject of the unsubstantiated claims.
Are Attorney Fees Available For A Frivolous Filing?
Targets of weaponized and groundless protection orders could receive attorney fees when they establish that the petitioner acted in bad faith. However, awards of attorney fees are relatively rare. Public policy favors giving support to victims of abuse, stalking, harassment, and violent crimes who seek protective orders. Authorities encourage people to come forward and seek protection when they are in dangerous situations and might be reluctant to award attorney fees because they do not want to discourage victims from coming forward and getting help from the court.
Demonstrating that a petition is frivolous can be challenging. If you face unfair allegations of stalking, abuse, or harassment, consider working with an attorney.
Other Interesting Article on Our Tulsa Lawyers Blog.
Oklahoma Protective Order Defense Lawyers
If you are the victim of unfounded abuse, harassment, or stalking allegations in Oklahoma, contact the Tulsa protective order defense attorneys at Kania Law Office. Please reach out to the firm to learn more about how a family law attorney could defend you against unsubstantiated claims of abuse. A family law or criminal defense attorney can defend you if someone has filed a groundless protective order against you. To learn more, call our office at 918-743-2233 or reach us online.