Domestic violence continues to be a pervasive issue throughout Oklahoma, resulting in many family court filings and criminal court proceedings against those responsible for committing these acts. If you or a loved one have experienced any form of domestic violence, it’s vital to know your legal rights and the options available to you for preventing further abuse. You likely have many important questions in this challenging situation, and the sooner you secure legal counsel you can trust, the easier it is going to be to approach your case with confidence.
It’s crucial to understand what domestic violence means, what qualifies as domestic violence, and what type of legal proceedings are likely to follow acts of domestic violence. Oklahoma’s domestic violence laws are expansive, and anyone who commits domestic violence against a family or household member faces a slew of potential penalties depending on the scope and severity of their actions.
Defining Domestic Violence in Oklahoma
Every state has unique laws pertaining to domestic violence, and the term “domestic violence” applies to many actions that typically qualify as standard criminal offenses. However, when such offenses occur between family members or members of the same household, these incidents qualify as domestic violence. For example, threatening someone and then physically harming them would constitute assault and battery. If this occurs within a family or household, it would be domestic battery, and the aggressor would face much harsher penalties.
Domestic violence can occur between current and former spouses, romantic partners, roommates, and extended family members. The parties involved do not necessarily need to live together, nor do they technically need to qualify as family for domestic violence to occur. Some of the most commonly reported forms of domestic violence in Tulsa include:
- Physical assault, such as hitting, slapping, or otherwise physically injuring a victim.
- Sexual abuse of any kind. The penalties for this depend on the age of the victim and the severity of the abuse in question.
- Psychological abuse. A person does not need to make physical contact with a victim to commit domestic violence. Terrorization, isolation, and other forms of emotional abuse can all cause devastating harm and qualify as domestic violence in Oklahoma.
- Stalking and harassment. This most commonly occurs between ex-spouses and ex-romantic partners.
There are many ways for domestic violence to manifest in Tulsa, and when the police respond to calls regarding domestic violence, they are legally obligated to protect the alleged victim from further harm. Depending on the severity of the situation, the alleged aggressor could face removal from the home and/or imprisonment until their hearing.
Potential Effects of Domestic Violence
When you or a loved one have experienced domestic violence of any kind in the Tulsa, OK area, the court can provide you with a protective order that will prohibit the abuser from coming near you, contacting you, or engaging in any other threatening or dangerous behaviors. The court typically grants temporary restraining orders as soon as the day an incident occurs, providing the victim with some immediate relief. Once they have their first hearing, the judge decides if the restraining order should be made permanent or revoked.
The consequences of domestic violence of any kind can be severe. If the defendant caused physical harm to the victim, they are liable for their civil damages. They are also responsible for pain, suffering, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Domestic violence is also a crime in Oklahoma, and the penalties could potentially include fines and incarceration. If the defendant held any child custody or visitation rights, they are very likely to lose them as a consequence of the domestic violence they committed.
Anyone beholden to a restraining order is required to abide by its terms to the letter until the expiration of the order. Many temporary restraining orders are issued by Tulsa family court judges each year in response to reports of domestic violence. A standard protective order will dictate places the subject of the order cannot go, things they may not do, and other conditions which, if broken, lead to very serious penalties. Fines, incarceration, and various other penalties are possible for any intentional violation of a Tulsa, OK protective order.
Q: What Should I Do After Experiencing Domestic Violence?
A: You should call 911 to notify the police of any type of domestic violence against you or a loved one. The sooner you get help, the more likely you are to avoid further harm. Once you have addressed the matter with the police and you have the police report from the incident, your next step should be to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine your best options for legal recourse.
Q: Can a Parent Lose Their Child Custody Rights in Oklahoma?
A: Involuntary termination of parental rights is possible when any parent has displayed unfitness to handle their child’s basic needs and provide them with a safe upbringing. It is highly likely that any parent who commits domestic violence against a child will permanently lose any custody or visitation rights they previously held.
Q: Can I Divorce My Spouse for Domestic Violence in Tulsa?
A: Oklahoma law does not require you to file for divorce with a specific cause or reason. Most divorce petitions are filed for the reason of “irreconcilable differences,” meaning the marriage has broken down beyond any hope of repair. However, if you have experienced domestic violence, the court needs to consider this in your Tulsa divorce. Your attorney can advise you as to what you can expect in your case.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney to Secure a Restraining Order?
A: The police can coordinate with a local judge to secure a temporary restraining order, but this order will only last until the initial hearing with a family court judge. The judge must then decide whether to revoke the order or make it permanent. While it’s not required to hire an attorney to petition for a restraining order, you are far more likely to reach the best results in your legal proceedings with legal counsel you can trust.
Ultimately, domestic violence can have devastating effects on any family. If you have questions about domestic violence, contact a Tulsa family law attorney as soon as possible to determine the best options for responding to this type of behavior.