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Lucy, Esq.
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Can I file a stalking protection order against someone who

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Can I file a stalking protection order against someone who lives in another state and won't stop emailing me? She is now threatening to come into town and come to my house even though I told her to never contact me again. I was told that if I file the stalking protection order she would then have to come into town for a hearing. Would she have to come to a hearing or only come for the hearing if she wanted to refuse to stop contacting me. My hope is to just get her to leave me alone, not give her an excuse to see me. Or is there a different kind of legal letter that could be sent that wouldn't entail a hearing unless she violated the terms? Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Oregon law allows a person to get a restraining order against someone who has placed him in reasonable fear of his safety, or where a reasonable person would fear for his safety, even if you personally are not afraid. It's also enough if your family members are afraid of her. If she's just being obnoxious, it doesn't sound like you would qualify for an order of protection. In addition, yes, she gets a hearing, so she could use that as an excuse to come see you, which doesn't seem to fix your problem.

There are, however, a couple of things that you can do. First, you may just want to see if you can direct your email program to direct all of her messages into a separate folder where you never have to see them. You don't want to delete them, because you could need them as evidence down the road, but at least you won't have to see them anymore.

Second, it's actually a violation of federal law to threaten someone via email (if that's what she's doing). 18 U.S.C., Section 875(c). Violation of that statute is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. Repeated, unwanted contact that serves no legitimate purpose can also be prosecuted under 47 U.S.C. 223. So, you could contact the US Attorney's Office and let them know that you would like to file a complaint against her.

If you do feel alarmed, threatened, or concerned by her conduct, then it IS a violation of Oregon's stalking laws, and you can file criminal charges against her. She would have to come to Oregon to face the music, but you would only see her if it ended up going to trial. And, even then, you would be on the stand testifying, and she would be at the defendant's table. You wouldn't necessarily have to talk to her. You could also try sending her a letter stating that you are going to press criminal charges if she doesn't leave you alone, and that it's her final warning. If you have a physical address, sending it via certified mail may have more impact.

Here is Oregon's definition of stalking, if you'd like to send it to her:

(1) A person commits the crime of stalking if:

(a) The person knowingly alarms or coerces another person or a member of that person's immediate family or household by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact with the other person;

(b) It is objectively reasonable for a person in the victim's situation to have been alarmed or coerced by the contact; and

(c) The repeated and unwanted contact causes the victim reasonable apprehension regarding the personal safety of the victim or a member of the victim's immediate family or household.

(2) (a) Stalking is a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, stalking is a Class C

felony if the person has a prior conviction for:

(A) Stalking; or
(B) Violating a court's stalking protective order.

(c) When stalking is a Class C felony pursuant to paragraph (b) of this

subsection, stalking shall be classified as a person felony and as crime category 8 of the sentencing guidelines grid of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.

Good luck.
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