Restraining Orders in Oregon

Preventing Abuse: Balancing restraining orders against abuse of the judicial system

In Oregon, a restraining order (RO) may be obtained when a person has been abused in the last 180 days. Restraining orders are a vital tool in preventing abuse and protecting persons, particularly women, from contact that reasonably places them in fear for their own safety.

Abuse can include physical injury, threatened physical injury, or attempted physical injury.

To obtain a restraining order in Oregon a party can fill out a petition to be presented before a judge ex parte (without the other party being notified). This allows a safe avenue for a person to obtain a protective order.

Unfortunately, this uncontested scenario is ripe for abuse. To obtain an RO all a person has to do is fill out a form alleging abuse. Although the petition is signed under penalty of perjury and the respondent is entitled to a hearing, there are immediate consequences to the respondent regardless of the final outcome. First, there is a court finding of probable cause that the respondent is an abuser. Second, collateral consequences often occur with employment. Many employers don’t want to retain an employee that has been found by the court to be an abuse. Third, it immediately affects a person’s right to carry a concealed firearm. Finally, these orders often provide for temporary custody to the other parent.

In Lane County, Oregon there is a culture of people who abuse protective orders, using them as a tool to aid in a custody case. This sort of abuse undermines the legitimate abuse claims. Fortunately, restraining orders are civil matters that afford considerable opportunities for preparing for trial and defending against frivolous claims (respondent’s request that the petitioner pay attorney fees, depositions, requests for production, etc.).

Our attorneys have tried many restraining order cases in court. Stalking orders require a specific knowledge of the relevant Oregon cases, particularly those cases involving protected speech (State v. Rangel and its progeny).

Sealing or “Expunging” the Dismissed Protective Order

Attorney Mike Arnold pioneered the sealing of protective order files in Oregon, effectively causing the court to expunge the records. Arnold created a motion arguing that it was within the inherent power of the court to expunge these cases.

Our attorneys have had success sealing stalking order records in several Oregon counties, such as Lane County and Multnomah County. In Lane County alone our firm has effectively expunged dozens of protective order files for clients who have been wrongly accused. However, recently a Lane County judge denied an unopposed motion to seal a stalking order file. This case is currently under appeal in the Oregon Court of Appeals.

  • Representative Cases


    Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings - False Stalking Order to Gain Custody

    Received a $50,000 judgment through bankruptcy adversarial proceeding due to mother lying to get a stalking order.

    Restraining Order - Lying about Fear to Gain Custody

    Mother lied about being afraid of father. She dismissed it after being cross-examined and confronted with dozens of text messages she sent to father.

    Stalking Order - Lying about Rape to Gain Custody

    We won a dismissal after trial. Court made findings of fact that stalking order was brought for an improper purpose.

    Sexual Harassment - Setting up co-worker for a sexual harassment lawsuit

    Negotiated a dismissal and a mutual no-contact agreement after discovering that petitioner made similar allegations against another employer in California.

    Stalking - Young woman files after older man stops buying her things

    Young woman lied about stalking incidents to gain a stalking order to spite her much older friend who bought her car, surgery, etc. Petitioner lied to the court; the firm proved the lies in trial and case dismissed.

    Stalking Order – Dismissed

    Mother obtained stalking order on Father to keep him from seeing his child for weeks. We were able to demonstrate motives for obtaining a stalking order to gain advantage in a custody case to keep child from Father. After Mother put on her case and she and her witnesses were cross-examined, judge dismissed the order without requiring any evidence or testimony from Father at all.

    Restraining Order – Upheld with Attorney Fee Award

    Husband took Restraining Order out on Wife after she applied for one to protect herself from him. After a hearing on both orders, Wife’s Order was upheld, Husband’s Order dismissed, and Husband ordered to pay all attorney fees for the firm’s time on the case.