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)