OK Governor Mary Fallin has signed a new law that will make it easier to obtain a protective order in the state, in an effort to more adequately protect victims of Oklahoma domestic abuse. The approval of House Bill 1912, made official on May 3, comes on the heels of two cases of reported abuse in the Tulsa area over the weekend, including one involving a college basketball player accused of abusing his pregnant girlfriend. If you have been the victim of domestic violence in Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in Oklahoma, contact our reputable lawyers at Atkins & Markoff to discuss the process of obtaining a protective order. Our legal team will work quickly and diligently to help you get the protection you need.
UNDERSTANDING OK’S NEW PROTECTIVE ORDER LAW
Under House Bill 1912, alleged victims of domestic violence in Oklahoma will no longer be required to seek legal sanctions, like separation or divorce, in order to receive a protective order hearing. A number of other statutes within the protective order measure will strengthen the rights of victims, including reducing the time its takes for a domestic violence victim to obtain a protective order – stating that a court must hear a petition within two weeks of its filing, rather than the current 20-day requirement. In addition, the legislation states that courts may order domestic abuse counseling for defendants, but can’t put the victim in harm’s way by requiring that they attend.
NEW PROTECTIVE ORDER BILL WILL SAVE LIVES
According to Jennifer McLaughlin, director of professional development for the Oklahoma Coalition for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, state legislators will be saving lives by making it easier for Oklahoma domestic abuse victims to be heard. “We definitely believe that [HB 1912] will help victims be safer,” she said. “Filing for divorce could put victims in bigger danger and could set off an abuser.” House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who authored the protective order bill, says its approval was a matter of life and death. “We cannot ignore victims of domestic violence and pretend that the current law is sufficient to protect them;” he said, “clearly it is not.”
OUR COMPASSIONATE ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
In 2011 alone, 114 people died in Oklahoma as a result of domestic violence, and statistics show that only 7% of the defendants had a prior domestic violence conviction. With the approval of the new protective order legislation, lawmakers have made it considerably easier for victims of domestic abuse in Oklahoma to seek the protection they need. If you have been the victim of domestic abuse in Oklahoma, don’t hesitate to take legal action to protect yourself from further harm. Consult our knowledgeable attorneys at Atkins & Markoff today to explore your legal options and discuss the steps necessary to obtain a protective order in Oklahoma.