Protection Order A Must For Victims Of Stalking Or Domestic Violence
Have You Been Stalked And Require A Protection Order? How And Where To File Locally In The State Of Ohio
Statistics show that 8% of American women and 2% of American men will be stalked at some point in their lives. This means that 1.4 million Americans are stalked every year. And while some times the perpetrator is related to the victim, often times they are not.
A Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order is very similar to a domestic violence civil protection order, however they seek to protect victims even if they are not a family or household member of the abuser. If a victim has been threated with physical harm or mental distress more than once and the incidents are closely related in time, then he or she may be entitled to a Stalking Civil Protection Order, and a victim of a sexual offense can seek a Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order after the first threat according to Ohio Revised Code §2903.214.
In order to obtain either type of these protection orders, the victim must first file a petition for such in the general division of common pleas court of the county in which they live. There is no cost to file. He or she may be entitled to instant protection if they can prove that there is a threat of immediate and present danger.
Immediate Protection From Bodily Hard
This type of danger generally exists if the stalker has either threatened bodily harm, or has been previously convicted of menacing by stalking or a sexually oriented offense. If immediate protection is needed, an ex parte hearing with the judge or magistrate will take place after filing. The victim must be present at the hearing in order to fully explain why a protection order is needed immediately. If the judge finds that a protection order is warranted, it will be issued and a date will be set within 10 days for a full hearing on the matter, assuming the accused can be served before then.
At the full hearing, the accused/respondent will be given the chance to defend themselves. They are allowed to call witnesses and introduce evidence, and the victim is also given the same opportunity. Either side is allowed to call the other as a witness in order to prove their case. While the victim must appear at the full hearing or risk having their protection order dismissed, the respondent does not have to attend. If the judge decides at the end of the hearing that a full hearing protection order is warranted, it will be issued and is good for up to 5 years unless a different date is specified. Violation of these orders is a criminal offense under Ohio law.
I Am Being Victimized, Is An Attorney Necessary To File A Protection Order?
While a victim does not need an attorney to seek a Stalking or Sexually Oriented Civil Protection Order, and they are entitled to a victim’s advocate throughout the entire process, it is smart to seek legal counsel to ensure that all their legal rights are protected, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If you or someone you know is the victim of stalking or a sexually oriented offense, contact our office today at (937) 293-2141 or email us here. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss your situation.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog. Mr. Mues has also been a dog owner for 55+ years, and just recently, he and his wife are the owners of "Ralph", a rescued mixed Wire Hair and Jack Russell Terrier.