Freedom of Speech and Oregon Stalking Order Law – Sticks and stones or just words?

Arnold Law: The premier Oregon law firm for statewide stalking defense

Oregon’s freedom of speech is stronger than the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Art. 1, Sect 8 of the Oregon constitution affords citizens rights not found in other states. Consequently, the case law has refined when and how communicative speech may be a “contact” for purposes of the Oregon stalking order statute.

Normally, contact only has to be “alarming” to qualify as Oregon stalking. However, when something can be characterized as communicative speech, the ante is upped quite a bit. Instead of mere “reasonable apprehension,” the petitioner must prove that the speech was an unequivocal threat of imminent serious personal violence. And the threat has to be more than an impotent expression of frustration. In other words, “I’m going to kill you now,” coupled with a fist raised, qualifies but “I could kill you for that” expressed in frustration does not.

When attorney Mike Arnold first began pioneering the modern defense of Oregon stalking orders, judges were not well educated on the free speech issues. He would have to spend a great deal of time educating the judges of these issues after they were clearly ignored by the judge who granted the initial ex parte order.

Over the years, judicial retirements, scathing Oregon Court of Appeals opinions, trial court advocacy, and an increased interest in family law by many judges has really turned around many county benches. Nowadays, many benches recognize the speech issues and how stalking orders are abused on a routine basis.

Frivolous/False SPOs

Attorney Mike Arnold estimates that a majority of all stalking orders are either frivolous or clearly do not meet the statutory definition of stalking. Go sit in the the Lane County courthouse on Monday mornings and hear how many of these cases are clearly aimed at gaining an advantage in a custody case, revenge for a break-up, involve a neighbor dispute, or are based on annoying behavior that clearly is protected speech.

At Arnold Law we understand the collateral damage that a stalking order can cause.

Contact a Lane County Stalking Order Defense Attorney

Don’t risk a stalking protective order ruining your life. Make the best of your attorney choice. Call us at 844-920-2910 or send us an e-mail to schedule an appointment with a stalking defense attorney at our firm.

Why Choose Our Trial Lawyers?

  • Our lawyers actually try cases
  • A lawyer ranked one of the best in Oregon
  • A retired circuit court judge and former judicial clerks.
  • Trial experience in multiple Oregon counties
  • A former Eugene city prosecutor and former deputy district attorney
  • jury trial experince in fedreal, state, & municipal courts
  • Cutting edge use of the Northwest's best expert witnesses in criminal, family law, & civil litigation

Managing partner Mike Arnold on what sets Arnold Law Office apart:

Call (541) 952-2384 for an appointment. The office is located on 401 East Tenth Avenue, Suite 400, in downtown Eugene; appointments are also available in downtown Portland and throughout Oregon.


401 East Tenth Avenue, Suite 400 Eugene, Oregon 97401

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