Chicago Stalking Defense Lawyer
Whether you face domestic violence protective orders or no contact related to stalking, the impact on your family relationships, career, and even living arrangements can be devastating. Our Chicago criminal defense law firm works diligently to protect clients charged with criminal violation of a restraining order from the harsh consequences of both formal penalties and the informal consequences that flow from being subject to a no contact order.What Constitutes Stalking Under Illinois Law?
The act of stalking is defined by 720 ILCS 21/5 as a course of conduct rather than a single act that can include:
- Unwanted phone calls
- Vandalism of a victim’s property
- Sending unwelcome emails
- Following a person
- Suddenly appearing at a victim’s work, home, or school
- Injuring the victim’s pet
- Leaving objects for the victim
Stalking constitutes a pattern of conduct that targets a specific person which the alleged perpetrator knows or should know would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or to experience emotional distress.
Stalking constitutes a Class 4 felony under Illinois law subject to punishment of incarceration of 1-3 years and a fine up to $25,000. Subsequent offenses constitute a Class 3 felony carrying a punishment of 2-5 years in state prison and a fine up to $25,000. If the stalking also involves bodily harm or the confinement or restraint of the victim, this more serious offense of aggravated stalking constitutes a Class 3 felony. A subsequent or second conviction of stalking is a Class 2 felony in Illinois.Broader Coverage of Stalking No Contract Order
If an alleged abuse victim seeks protection orders against someone who does not fall into the household and family relationships defined by the Domestic Violence Act, he or she can seek similar protections in the form of a stalking no contact order of protection. While civil orders of protection depend on the relationship between the parties, stalking orders can be granted even when the parties are strangers. Any party who has been stalked, or the parent of a child who has been stalked, can seek this type of protective order.Process of Seeking Injunctions to Prevent Stalking
The process of obtaining a stalking order is comparable to the procedures for filing for a civil order of protection. An application for the stalking order must be completed under penalty of perjury and filed with the court. The judge will evaluate the information and the incidents in the application to determine whether an Emergency Stalking No Contact Order should be granted. If the order is granted, the party accused of stalking typically will receive notice of the hearing when he or she is served with the emergency stalking protective order, which expires in 14 to 21 days. The order can be extended if necessary between the time of the emergency hearing and the hearing on the plenary order. As with the civil protective order EPO, the court can grant the order if the information in the sworn petition is credible and complies with the legal requirements. A request for an emergency order can be sought when the stalking is continuous, so it would likely continue until the hearing on a plenary order or the conduct the order is designed to prevent if the responding party had notice.
The hearing on whether to grant a plenary order of two years mirrors the civil protective order process. While the protected party can extend the Stalking No Contact Order by filing a motion. Further, the plenary order will become permanent if the alleged perpetrator is convicted of stalking in the criminal case.
The consequences of the judge issuing the order are different. The stalking protective order does not completely bar contact between the victim and the alleged perpetrator. Rather, the party targeted by the stalking order cannot contact the protected parties without their permission, which includes all forms of communication including texting, email, and telephonic contact. The stalking order will also forbid the restricted party from tracking the location or movement of the protected party.Scope of Restrictions Included in a Stalking No Contact Order
When the court decides to grant a plenary order, the judge has the discretion to provide several forms of relief that include:
- Forbidding contact with the victim or any 3rd party designated by the order
- Requiring the restricted party to remain a minimum distance from the alleged victim and his or her residence, school, place of work, daycare facility, or another place frequently visited by the alleged victim
- Barring possession of a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or a firearm
- Prohibiting the alleged perpetrator from stalking or threatening to stalk the victim
- Other appropriate injunctive relief
If you are alleged to have violated a Stalking No Contact Order, you can face serious punishment. A first violation of the order could be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The conviction can carry a period of incarceration of up to a year in jail and a fine up to a maximum of $2,500. When the accused has a prior conviction, a subsequent conviction could be a felony that results in 1 to 3 years in a penitentiary and a maximum fine up to $25,000.Free Case Review for Those Charged With Violating a Protective Order in Chicago
If you have been questioned by police, arrested or charged for violating a protective order, call Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg. Mr. Freidberg provides effective criminal defense. If you would like more information about these types of charges or any other charge, we invite you to click here or call us 24/7 at (312) 560-7100.