VPO or Victim Protective Order
You have probably heard of a legal document that orders someone to stay away from another person. Though these documents are commonly referred to as “restraining orders,” in Oklahoma, they are officially called Victim Protective Orders, or VPOs for short.
What is a VPO?
A VPO is designed to protect victims of domestic abuse, physical violence, stalking, and other forms of harassment. However, these orders can also be used for ulterior motives such as embarrassment or public disgrace, and people often have no idea that they have been named in a protective order until it is served upon them.
In these situations, it is NEVER a good idea to contact the person who requested the order to try and sort things out, as that could lead to serious legal consequences. It is better to contact an attorney who can assess the situation from a legal perspective and help you understand what is happening.
Emergency and Ex Parte Orders
In certain situations, law enforcement officers may issue an emergency protective order that will be valid until the courthouse is open. Once the court is open, the person requesting the VPO would then seek an ex parte order, which means that the defendant (the person named in the order) does not have to be present to give his or her side of the story. If granted, the ex parte order would be valid until a hearing for a final protection order is held.
Violating a VPO
If someone has taken out a VPO against you and you violate its terms, you could face a misdemeanor charge that carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the victim is injured as a result of the violation, the jail sentence can increase to 20 days.
If you violate the terms of a VPO a second or subsequent time, you could face a felony charge, which carries between one and three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.