What is an Oregon Restraining Order?
An Oregon Restraining Order, sometimes called a "FAPA order" (or Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order is a civil order that provides protection from abuse or injury from a family or member of a household.
What does it mean that a restraining order is "civil"?
There are two primary areas of law: civil and criminal. Criminal matters are generally handled by the state or a municipality, and deal with prosecuting crimes which can result in punishment including jail. A restraining order is not seeking jail time, and getting one does not create a crime. However, if a person violates the civil restraining order, they may be sent to jail for the violation. Restraining orders in Oregon take place under the "civil law" system. In fact, even though a person can go to jail for violating a restraining order, this is because it is contempt of court to violate a court order, but not a crime.
What is criminal law?
In Oregon, "criminal law" refers to the system that addresses cases that involve violations of criminal law. This includes crimes like burglary, assault, murder, DUII, etc. Criminal cases are handled by the a municipality (city), state, or the federal government. The prosecutor (or district attorney) makes the decision whether to prosecute a crime. It is the government who brings the case against the violator, not the victim of the crime.
While it is possible that a victim of crime does not want to cooperate with the cases (sometimes called “pressing charges”), the district might decide to drop the criminal charges. This is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute over the objection of the victim and could even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force a victim to testify at the trial. In a criminal case, the prosecutor represents the interests of the government, not the victim specifically.
What qualifies as domestic abuse in Oregon?
"Domestic abuse" is defined by Oregon law. Generally, the law states that it is abuse when a family or household member:
Family or household member” means any of the following:
- Attempts to hurt you physically;
- Actually hurts you physically (intentionally, recklessly or knowingly);
- Intimidates or makes you afraid of serious physical injury (intentionally, recklessly or knowingly); OR
- Makes you have sex against your will by force, or threat of force.
- An adult related by blood, marriage or adoption;
- Someone you are living with or have lived with in the past;
- Someone you have been in a sexually intimate relationship with, within two years immediately preceding the filing of a restraining order petition under; OR
- Someone with whom you have a child.
See: O.R.S. § 107.705(1), O.R.S. § 107.705(4)
How long does it take for a restraining order to take effect?
After a judge signs an Oregon restraining order, the protective order does not actually go into effect until the other party (the "Respondent") is served. In Oregon, the sheriff will usually try to get this done immediately.
Once the other party physically receives the paperwork (been served), they are immediately restrained by the terms of the signed order. Note that sometimes difficulties finding the Respondent to serve them will result in a delay in getting the restraining order into effect.
How much does it cost to get a restraining order?
In Oregon, restraining orders themselves cost nothing to file, and the sheriff will serve them on the other party without cost to you. Should you choose for some reason to use a private process server instead of law enforcement to serve papers on the other party, that company or person will charge a fee like any other business.
How long do restraining orders last in Oregon?
An Oregon restraining order lasts for one year from the date the judge originally signed it, or until it is dismissed by a judge (either after a hearing or by the Petitioner).
An Oregon restraining order can be renewed each year if it is found by the Court that a danger of abuse still exists. Note that renewal paperwork must be filed before the expiration of the existing order.
What is a FAPA order in Oregon?
In Oregon, the Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) provides for a means to have the court issue an order of protection against abuse for certain parties within a family setting. This is also referred to as a "restraining order", and it generally prohibits the person who is the subject of the order (the “respondent") from taking certain actions against the person obtaining the protective order (the “petitioner").
Do restraining orders show up on a background check?
It's difficult to say. In Oregon, restraining orders (sometimes called FAPA orders) are civil matters, not criminal. If the background check was only for criminal matters, it presumably would not come up. However, a civil restraining order is still part of the public court record. A background check which looks for court actions in general, not just criminal matters, would likely reveal a restraining order. Generally you should assume that if it's part of the public record, it can be discovered.