Order of Protection
If you have grown estranged from a former spouse, roommate or family member, you may find yourself embroiled in a legal battle that has the potential to adversely affect your finances, job security, child custody or visitation rights, and your permanent record. Orders of protection are often sought by spouses, roommates or family members who claim to have been the victims of domestic violence. However, given the lax system surrounding orders of protection, many orders that are unwarranted or based on fabricated stories are issued each year in Cook County.
The order of protection process is a civil procedure, not a criminal procedure. In this type of domestic violence case, your rights are different from a criminal case. However, many of the severe consequences are virtually identical. If someone is seeking an order of protection against you or if one has already been granted, you need to seek the assistance of a skilled domestic violence attorney immediately in order to fight the accusations. Chicago protection order lawyer David L. Freidberg has worked with countless domestic violence clients, helping them to block orders of protection and rebut false accusations. David L. Freidberg, a top-rated Chicago area criminal defense attorney, has over 20 years of experience with litigating in Cook County and DuPage County Circuit Courts. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg has locations in Chicago, Skokie, and DuPage. If you are interested in unparalleled legal representation and aggressive advocacy, call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 for a free case evaluation.Types of Domestic Violence
While many may believe that domestic violence only involves the physical striking of a family member or spouse, domestic violence actually includes a wide variety of non-physical abuse. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence includes:
- Stalking and harassment, such as leaving threatening voicemails or following someone
- Using coercion or force to get someone to do something
- Refusing to properly care for a disabled or elderly person or refusing to give them access to care
- Forcing another to watch abuse
- Physical violence
- Destroying another’s property
Domestic violence is unique in that this area of law only covers household and family members. Many actions of abuse covered in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act are also separate criminal offenses. For instance, striking a loved one is also battery. Smashing a spouse’s cellphone is also destruction of property. The relationship between the victim and defendant forms the basis for domestic violence.
According to the Illinois statute, domestic violence is applicable to:
- People who currently live or have lived together, even if unrelated
- Family members, including children, siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, and more
- Current and past spouses
- People who either dated or were sexually intimate with each other
- Parents of a child
- Caretakers of disabled individuals, even if unrelated
If someone attempts to request an order of protection against you, they must first go to the Circuit Court and file a Petition for Order of Protection. This is a very informal petition that simply states why exactly they are seeking an order of protection against you. Most individuals include information about the history of their relationship with you, as well as any alleged acts of abuse. The person requesting the order is the petitioner, and you are known as the respondent. Orders of protection are often colloquially referred to as restraining orders.
The petition will go to a civil domestic violence judge for review. The judge can do one of three things: (1) deny the motion, (2) grant the motion on a temporary basis immediately due to a perceived emergency, and/or (3) schedule a hearing and decide on the motion after hearing arguments.
The judge will deny the motion if there is no legal basis for an order of protection. This may occur if the parties do not qualify as family or household members under the statute, if the alleged acts do not qualify as abuse, or if the judge does not believe the petitioner’s story.
If the judge grants the motion on an emergency basis, an emergency order of protection will be issued. However, keep in mind that this is only a temporary order. Because the court system is routinely bogged down, which causes a delay in scheduling hearings, an emergency order of protection will allow the petitioner to experience some immediate relief while awaiting a hearing. The judge is not required to await your response to the order or hold a hearing before issuing an emergency order of protection. Thus, it is very rare for a respondent to learn of an emergency order of protection until after it has already been issued. These types of orders can only last for 14 to 21 days maximum.
If the case is fairly lengthy, the judge may issue an interim order of protection. This type of order provides protection to the petitioner for up to 30 days in between court proceedings. The judge may routinely renew this order throughout the case. This order is only temporary.
At the conclusion of the case, after hearing all arguments and considering all evidence, the judge may decide to grant the petition and issue a plenary order of protection. This is the final order and is valid for up to 2 years.Penalties for Violating an Order of Protection
While an order of protection is a civil order, it carries some very real consequences if you violate it. These can include:
- Contempt of court, which can involve jail time
- Criminal charges, which involve jail time and fines
- Job loss
- Loss of access to your children
An order of protection granted against you can have devastating consequences on your liberty, livelihood, residence, and parenthood. Unlike criminal court, you are not entitled to have an attorney appointed for you in civil court. Don’t try to represent yourself in this very serious matter. Contact The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg immediately for free advice on your order of protection case. Our Chicago protection order attorneys are available 24/7, so do not hesitate to contact us at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 toll free.