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What Actually Is An Order Of Protection In Illinois?


Basically, an order of protection is an order granted by a judge that tells someone that they can’t have contact with certain individuals or that they can’t go to certain places. A violation of that would be a criminal charge. Contact doesn’t have to be direct contact either. Contact generally would also include sending messages with social media, texting, or having a third party communicate with the protected party.

Are There Different Types Of Orders Of Protection?

Yes. Some orders of protection are issued as a result of criminal charges or someone being arrested. However, a person can petition a court for an order of protection even if there aren’t charges. Just because the police weren’t called and no one was arrested doesn’t mean that an order of protection cannot be granted. A person, if they are in fear for their lives, can go into open court and file a petition and ask that an order be granted, without criminal charges.

What Are The Criteria To Be Met For An Order Of Protection To Be Granted?

There are a number of criteria; probably the most popular is an allegation of fear of some type of physical abuse, but it could be other things as well, such as harassment. If there are allegations that one individual is harassing another and is somehow interfering with their personal liberty or somehow intimidating them, any of those types of allegations could form the basis of an order of protection.

Is An Automatic Order Of Protection Put in Place If There is A Domestic Battery Situation Involved?

No, it’s not automatic. There are two ways that it could work. A judge can impose it as a condition of bail that the defendant stay away from the complaining witness, or the complaining witness could seek an order of protection in a criminal matter, but it’s not automatic.

How Can An Order of Protection Impact Someone’s Life?

It’s entered into a national database, so any police officer would be able to see that you have this order against you. Generally, you are required to surrender any weapons or firearms that you may have. It also restricts your movement, so it’s better not to have one than have one.

How Can An Order Of Protection Impact A Parent’s Relationship With Their Children?

When an order of protection is issued, it could include the children. In other words, the judge can order you to stay away from your children. The Order could require no contact with them, or the judge can also issue some sort of compromise where there is limited visitation available, but all of those circumstances and the details of that would have to be included in the order. That makes it difficult because, for instance, if there is a stay away order for the mother of the children, that makes it difficult to achieve visitation without having contact with the mother. You have to coordinate a meeting place, figure out who is going to be dropping the children off and who is going to be picking them up. Lots of times it requires a third party to participate.

How Long Does An Order Of Protection Generally Last?

If somebody files for an order of protection, then the judge has the ability to grant that order on an emergency basis. However, that emergency order of protection is generally only good for a couple of weeks until the respondent has been served with the petition and there is an opportunity for a hearing in open court. After the hearing, if the judge determines that there is a basis to grant the order of protection, then ordinarily that order of protection would be for two years.

Can An Order of Protection Ever Be Modified Or Dismissed?

Absolutely. Every person that has been served with an order of protection has the right to a hearing on that. If you don’t show up, then that order will be granted on a default basis. In other words, if you don’t show up to contest it, the judge will grant it, and then you will have this order of protection against you for two years probably. You do have the ability to contest it, and that would occur in open court. At that time, you can also ask the judge to modify the order of protection.

For more information on Orders Of Protection, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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