What’s the Difference Between a Stalking Order and Restraining Order?

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

Stalking orders are far more serious than restraining orders.

Length of time

Stalking orders are permanent with some exceptions. Restraining orders only last one year and have to be renewed by the petitioner affirmatively filing something at court.

Violating an Order

If you violate a stalking order, it is a criminal misdemeanor where you could go to jail for up to a year. A restraining order violation is not a crime but is contempt of court, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. However, a violation of a stalking order must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a jury trial and a RO violation is with a judge trial.

A second stalking order violation is a felony and could result in prison time depending on a person’s criminal history. A second RO violation is still a maximum of six months in jail.

Qualifying for an Order

In some respects though, obtaining a stalking order is actually easier than a restraining order. To qualify for an RO, a person must prove actual abuse instead of “contact” like a stalking order. Abuse can mean bodily injury (punching someone), attempted bodily injury (a swing and a miss), or threatening imminent bodily injury (raising a fist). However, an RO only requires on act of abuse whereas an SPO requires two or more contacts.

Both SPOs and ROs are heard by a judge instead of a jury. Both are civil cases where the rules of civil procedure apply (i.e., depositions and requests for production).

Who can get them?

Restraining orders are only available in domestic situations involving intimate couples, family members, etc. SPOs are available to anyone with a pulse and a pen.

Gun/Firearm/Hunting Rights

Losing an RO hearing always affects gun rights but losing a SPO hearing only sometimes affects firearm rights. If you request a hearing in a restraining order case and lose and the petitioner is a former intimate partner, you lose your gun rights so long as the order is in effect (typically on year unless renewed). Many times people choose not to request a hearing so that provision of the Violence Against Women Act doesn’t activate. Gun rights aren’t affected by a SPO if the person is not a former intimate partner. There is some debate if they are always affected in a family situation even if there is not a contested hearing.

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 Office 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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