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Violating Orders of Protection
Charges of domestic battery, stalking, or any type of harassment in Illinois are serious matters. Even if you are only accused of committing these actions and have not yet gone to court in your case, you may be subject to Orders of Protection, requiring you to refrain from contacting the person seeking protection.
Penalties for a first offense due to not complying with this type of order may seem relatively minor on the surface, but you need to take this matter very seriously. If there are any subsequent offenses or if you have been convicted of domestic violence charges in the past, you could be facing a felony conviction and a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Complying With the Terms of an Order
The Illinois Attorney General advises that Orders of Protection may be granted to those involved in domestic violence cases or in civil suits in which unwanted contact or harassment is alleged to have occurred. These types of protective orders may be issued as part of an ongoing civil or criminal proceeding or on an emergency basis. The following may be included as part of the order:
- Prohibitions against contacting, stalking, threatening, or otherwise harassing the alleged victim;
- Stipulations that prevent you from appearing at their home or approaching them at work or in public places;
- Restrictions on contact via social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.;
- Requirements to attend court appearances and mandatory counseling sessions;
- Restrictions regarding the use of alcohol or drugs while the order is in place, for which you may be subject to random testing;
- Granting of rights to property and custody of any children to the alleged victim;
- Requirements to make child support or spousal maintenance payments;
- Requirements to surrender any weapons, including guns or knives, and your FOID card in your possession.
A plenary Order of Protection is one that has been issued after a hearing, at which both you and the accuser were afforded the right to an attorney and to make your case. Regardless of whether a protective order is issued in this matter or on a more sudden, emergency basis, you are required to comply with the provisions or face legal actions.
Additionally, even if an emergency Order of Protection was denied, once you have been served with notice of the pending order, there can be no contact with the petitioner. The alleged victim may contact law enforcement and you could be arrested for a misdemeanor charge of Violation of Order of Protection if you violate the order in any way.
Penalties for Violating Orders of Protection
Law enforcement officers and the courts have a duty to enforce and uphold Orders of Protection and pending orders. Under the Illinois Criminal Statutes (720 ILCS 5/12-3.4), there are two situations in which you can be charged for violating the order:
- If you knowingly commit an act that is prohibited, such as contacting the alleged victim or appearing at his or her workplace;
- If you fail to take an act required by the order, such as falling behind on child support payments.
A first offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a possible fine of $2,500. While this may seem relatively minor, under the above Statute, it is within the judge’s discretion to sentence you up to 364 days in jail on this first charge. This is a real possibility if there are extenuating circumstances and the judge considers you to be a significant threat.
For a second violation of the Order of Protection, or if you have a prior conviction for domestic violence on your record, you could end up facing far more serious charges. As a class 4 felony, you would be facing a mandatory minimum 24-hour jail sentence along with a significant court fine and any court costs associated with your case. A felony conviction will remain as part of your permanent record, and associated fines and penalties could prevent you from obtaining certain types of jobs, getting educational loans, and obtaining an apartment lease or mortgage. If you do face domestic violence-related charges associated with the protective order, they can also be used against you in any future criminal proceedings.
Options for Dealing With an Order of Protection
Once an Order of Protection has been sought or issued against you, your best option for dealing with it is to comply with the terms. Rather than attempting to contact your accuser by telephone, email, or by sending texts or messages through friends, you need to reach out to an experienced Chicago criminal lawyer who can help you strategize your best course of defense.
The time for talking or attempting to persuade your accuser is past, and taking actions such as withholding support, not attending required classes, or attempting to destroy property out of anger and frustration will only backfire on you, both now and in the long run. As part of building a strong defense in your case, our attorneys can take the following actions on your behalf:
- Conduct extensive investigations into the circumstances surrounding the Order of Protection and any charges you face;
- Question those immediately involved in the case, including the alleged victim and any witnesses;
- Subpoena additional witnesses, who can testify on your behalf;
- Uncover additional evidence in your case, such as cell phone records and video surveillance tapes from nearby stores and traffic signals;
- Obtain statements from friends and family members pertaining to your character;
- Negotiate with attorneys on the opposing side in an attempt to resolve the case without going to a hearing;
- Speak with the detectives and the prosecuting attorney involved in your case in an effort to get your charges dropped or reduced.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney David L. Freidberg has more than 25 years of experience providing the kind of professional, aggressive legal representation needed to defend the rights and interests of his clients. He is a well respected member of the local legal community and has forged strong relationships with law enforcement, court personnel, judges, and district attorneys throughout Chicago, Dupage County and the surrounding areas. His legal expertise and dedication to his clients helps you to get the best possible results in your case.
If you are facing a pending order of protection or currently have this type of order in place, it is important to speak with our Chicago, Cook County and Dupage County criminal lawyer right away. Call us at (312) 560-7100 or contact our office online to request a one-on-one, no obligation consultation with Attorney David L. Freidberg today. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.
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