Filing a Restraining Order in Oregon
Restraining Orders in Oregon are technically called “Family Abuse Prevention Act” Orders. FAPA orders are serious business – and the Judge’s decision to uphold or dismiss a FAPA order depends not only on what you say in Court, but how your case is presented. The rules of evidence and court procedures apply in FAPA cases, whether you have an attorney on your side or not – and you are held to them. The rules of evidence have to do with how to get evidence into the record – and how to try and keep it out. I’ve seen a case won or lost based on these rules, irrespective of what evidence might have existed. This is why, if you are serious about seeking or defending against a FAPA, you should retain a qualified, experienced attorney.
FAPA orders are not just about not contacting someone – it’s common for people to think that there is no reason to fight a FAPA order since they really don’t want to communicate with the other person anyways, however there are many many reasons why you do not want a FAPA against you.
If you have Received a Restraining Order
Some of the dangerous consequences of a FAPA order being upheld against you include:
- YOU CAN BE ARRESTED AND CHARGED if the police and then the District Attorney’s office believe that you violated the order. You don’t have the right to a jury trial, because even though you can serve up to 6 months in jail for each incident, the charge of Contempt of Court is technically “civil,” and not “criminal.” which has less Constitutional protections and rights. This isn’t just a matter of semantics; when a contempt charge is civil you do not get the right to a jury trial which is one of the cornerstones of our Constitution.
- YOU CAN LOSE VIRTUALLY ANY CHANCE OF GETTING CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILDREN If a FAPA order is not contested, or if it is but you lose, an irrevocable finding by the Court that you have committed abuse has been made, and the presumption under Oregon law is that the other parent should have custody. If you’ve been served with a FAPA, you probably were given 15 minutes to get your belongings together and leave your house. Unless you contest the FAPA order things are not going to improve for you for quite awhile.
- FAPA ORDERS ARE NOT EXPUNGABLE OR OTHERWISE REMOVABLE FROM YOUR RECORD: there is currently no legal means in Oregon to expunge a FAPA Petition or Order – but at least if you contest it and prevail, you can show that the Court did not find you to have committed acts of abuse.
- YOU WILL BE PROHIBITED FROM POSSESSING FIREARMS UNDER BOTH OREGON AND FEDERAL LAW: FAPA orders can restrict your right to possess and purchase firearms, under both Oregon State and Federal Law: In the Oregon court, the Judge may order you to not to possess firearms or ammunition as part of the "other relief" provision in the temporary or final order. FEDERAL LAW prohibits most individuals who have a FAPA order against them from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition while subject to restraining orders that (1) were issued after a hearing for which the respondent received notice and (2) contain certain findings required by the federal law.