How do I know if I qualify for a stalking order?
To get a Stalking Protective Order (SPO) under Oregon law, you or a member of your immediate family or household must have been contacted two separate times within the past two years. The law says stalking is:
- repeated and unwanted contact that is alarming (causes fear) or coercive (forceful) to you and
- it is reasonable for you to feel alarmed or coerced and
- the contacts cause you to reasonably fear for your physical safety or the physical safety of your household or family
What are some examples of stalking behavior?
Some examples of contacts or behaviors that may be grounds for a Stalking Order are:
- Waiting outside your home, school or work, or the home, school or work of an immediate family or household member.
- Following you or a member of your immediate family or household.
- Committing a crime against you or a member of your immediate family or household.
- Letters, phone calls, e-mails or text messages that threaten immediate serious personal violence
Where do I file for a Stalking Order and how much does it cost?
You must file for a Stalking Order in the courthouse in the county where the stalker lives or where the unwanted contact took place. Getting a stalking order is free unless you want the court to award you damages.
How do I fill out the papers to get a Stalking Order?
Use a blue or black pen and write clearly. You are the Petitioner and the person you want to stop contacting you it the Respondent. Answer each question on the petition carefully and tell the truth. Make sure that you fill out the petition completely. You must sign in front of a notary of court clerk. Bring photo ID to the courthouse. An advocate at the Safe House Alliance (535 East River Street, Cave Junction, 541-592-2515) can help you with the forms.
What if I am a minor under 18?
If you are under 18 , the court should appoint a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is a person who is 18 years or older and a person who can represent your interests; usually a trusted family member or friend. The person who will be your guardian ad litem needs to first file and Application for a Guardian Ad Litem. The court clerk may have the form available or you can pick up the form at the Safe House Alliance.
What happens after I fill out the papers?
A time will be set for the judge to look over your papers. The judge may ask you some questions, usually under oath. If the judge decides the facts of your situation meet the requirements of the law, he or she will give you a temporary stalking protective order.
How do I serve the papers?
If the judge signs your order, a court clerk should make certified copies of the order for you. You need to have one of the copies hand delivered to the respondent by a sheriff’s deputy (free in Oregon), a private process server or certain adults. You cannot serve the papers yourself. Talk to the court clerk about ways to get the respondent served. The server must complete a declaration of service and file it with the court, which is included in the packet. The stalking order cannot be enforced until the respondent is served.
Will a hearing be scheduled?
If the judge signs the temporary stalking order, a hearing will be set. Information about the date and time of the hearing will be provided in the order itself on page 3. The temporary stalking order lasts until the hearing.
What happens at the hearing?
The reason for the hearing is so the judge can decide whether or not the temporary stalking order should be made permanent. You must go to the hearing or the order will be dismissed.
At the hearing you must prove what you wrote in the petition. You should be ready to give your own testimony, call witnesses, and give the judge and evidence (such as photos, letters, recordings). If the judge decides that you have proven your case, he or she will sign a final stalking protective order. If the respondent does not come to the hearing and the judge signs a final stalking order, the order must be served on the respondent.
How long does the final stalking protective order last?
A final stalking order is permanent. The respondent, however, can file legal papers to ask the court to end the order. If the respondent files papers, a hearing will be set on whether of not the final stalking order should be ended. You will be served with the legal papers which will include the date and time of the hearing.
What can I do if the respondent does not follow the temporary or final order?
If the respondent does not obey the stalking order, it is a crime. If the respondent acts in a way that the court does not allow, you should call the police. The police must arrest the respondent if they have reason to believe that he or she has not followed a temporary of final stalking order. If the respondent is convicted of a violation of a stalking order, it is a class A misdemeanor. If the respondent has a prior conviction for stalking or violation of a stalking order, it is a class C felony.
A stalking order alone may not protect you against the respondents actions. If you need information about what other safety steps you can take, contact an advocate at the Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance at 541-592-2515, located at 535 East River Street, Cave Junction, OR.
What services are available and what can I get help with when I think I need to get a Stalking Order?
An advocate at the Safe House Alliance can talk with you to help you determine whether you qualify for a Stalking Order, provide you with the Stalking Order paperwork, help you complete the paperwork and help you understand what stalking behavior looks like. We can go with you to the hearing, and in some instances, we can drive you. An advocate will work with you to develop a safety plan and if needed, relocate you to a safe place. If you need money for gas to get to court, the Alliance may be able to assist you. We are available to talk and we are here to listen. All our services are free and your visit is completely confidential. If you or someone you know may be in a dangerous or abusive situation, please call us at 541-592-2515.