How do I get a stalking protection order?
How does the Police Citation Route work?
The police can issue a citation telling the stalker when and where to appear in court.
Step 1: Get the form. Go to any law enforcement agency for a stalking complaint (the police or sheriff should have a form). You can also find the form in the OR Legal Statutes section, in O.R.S. § 163.744(2), of this website.
Step 2: Fill out the form. On the form, you will need to give:
- Your name and address as the victim (and the name and address of the person being stalked if it is different from yourself);
- The stalker's name and address;
- A physical description of the stalker;
- A description of the conduct and the time frame in which it has occurred; and
- The relationship, if any, between the victim and the stalker.
Step 3: Sign the complaint. The officer will then ask you to sign the complaint. By signing it, you are swearing that all the information is true and correct. Do not sign the application until you have shown it to an officer because the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.
Step 4: Issuance of citation. If the officer believes that you are being stalked, s/he then issues a citation to the abuser (by serving the abuser), ordering him/her to appear in court within 3 days and tell his/her side of the story.
Step 5: Find out when the hearing will be held. The officer will notify you in writing of the place and time set for the hearing, so it is important to give your correct address to the officer when filing the complaint, or a safe address where you will check the mail for this information. During the 3 days before the hearing, you are protected by the officer’s citation.
Step 6: The hearing. You must be at the hearing either in person, or with the court's permission, by telephone (ask the officer who helps you fill out the order about this option). At the hearing, the judge may grant a temporary stalking order or a permanent order.
If the judge grants a temporary order, there will be a second hearing to determine whether to grant you a permanent order. Either you or your stalker can ask to postpone the hearing for up to 30 days, if more time is needed to prepare. If the court does postpone the hearing, a temporary order may be given to protect you until the second hearing.
Whether you go the Police Citation Route or the Court Order Route, the court will hold a hearing and decide whether a permanent stalking protection order should go into effect. In addition to ordering the stalker to stay away from you and from your or your family member’s home, the court can also order a stalker to have a mental health evaluation and to get mental health treatment.* It does not cost anything to apply for a stalking order, and the sheriff will deliver (serve) the order for free.
* O.R.S. § 163.738(5)
How does the Court Route work?
Step 1: Go to the courthouse. You go to the circuit court and fill out a petition for a stalking protective order. This may be easier than the police citation route, depending on which county you live in. Some counties have free forms in the courthouse to fill out. If not, you will probably need some legal assistance to properly draft up the petition and file your complaint. See OR Finding a Lawyer for contact information to legal services organizations.
It is important to be as specific and as truthful as possible on the complaint form. Include the day, date, location, witnesses, specific conduct of the respondent and why that conduct makes you afraid for your safety.
Step 2: Meeting with a judge for a temporary order. Once you have filed your complaint, you will appear before a judge, who will ask questions about the incidents. If the judge determines that the requirements of the law have been met, s/he will issue a temporary stalking protection order that prohibits the respondent from further contact with you. At that time, the judge will schedule a second hearing at which a permanent stalking protection order may be issued. The abuser will have the right to attend this hearing to tell his/her side of the story.
Step 3: Service of Process. A sheriff serves the temporary stalking protection order on the respondent; the order is not enforceable until it has been served. At the end of the 30 days, the order expires unless it has been extended at the scheduled hearing.*
Step 4: The Hearing. It is strongly recommended that petitioners appear in person at this hearing, because some judges refuse to issue a second temporary order if the petitioner does not appear at the hearing. You may be allowed to testify at this hearing by telephone, if you request to do so.*
If the respondent fails to appear, the judge will issue an arrest warrant and grant the stalking protection order.**
Whether you go the Police Citation Route or the Court Order Route, the court will hold a hearing and decide whether a permanent stalking protection order should go into effect. In addition to ordering the stalker to stay away from you and from your or your family member’s home, the court can also order a stalker to have a mental health evaluation and to get mental health treatment.*** It does not cost anything to apply for a stalking order, and the sheriff will deliver (serve) the order for free.
* O.R.S. § 163.738(2)(a)
** O.R.S. § 163.738(1)(a)(G)
*** O.R.S. § 163.738(5)