What Should I Do if an Order of Protection Is Filed Against Me?

St. Charles domestic violence defense attorney

Orders of protection are legally enforceable court orders that require a person to refrain from contacting certain individuals or being near designated locations. These orders are intended to protect victims of abuse, domestic violence, or stalking. However, protective orders are also vulnerable to being misused. Being the subject of an order of protection, sometimes called a restraining order, can be a confusing and embarrassing situation to handle. If you have recently learned that someone has filed an order of protection against you in Illinois, you may be completely unsure of how to respond. However, it is crucial that you take certain actions to protect yourself and avoid making the situation worse–even if the protective order is unjustified.   

Follow the Directives in the Order

Orders of protection can contain many different types of provisions. The protection order may require you to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner (the person who requested the protection order), as well as his or her home and workplace. You may be prohibited from calling, texting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner. The order may even contain a requirement that you move out of your home.

Some orders of protection contain a “peaceful contact provision” that allows you as the subject of the order to peacefully contact the petitioner for certain reasons, such as transferring a child in a shared parenting arrangement. The protection order may also require you to surrender any firearms that you possess or attend counseling, including anger management classes.

It is crucial that you fully follow these provisions. According to Illinois law, if you violate any of the directions contained in the order of protection, you could be arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If you have previously been convicted of violating an order of protection, domestic battery, or other offenses, violating an order of protection is a Class 4 felony.

Attend Any Court Hearings

In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection can be granted to the petitioner based on his or her testimony alone. You may have never even been given a chance to defend yourself against the accusations that led to the order being brought against you. Emergency Orders of Protection only last up to 21 days. If the petitioner wants the protection period to last longer than this, he or she will need to petition the court for a Plenary Order of Protection. In order to be granted this more permanent protection order, the petitioner must attend a court hearing and present his or her reasons for seeking the protection order. It is essential that you attend the plenary hearing. This is your chance to defend yourself. If you do not show up to the plenary hearing, the judge will likely grant the petitioner’s request for the Plenary Protection Order. During the hearing, you and your lawyer will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses that support your side of the story and demonstrate why a plenary order of protection is not necessary.

Contact a St. Charles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Orders of protection are meant to protect people from abuse and harassment. In some cases, the reasons behind the order may be unfounded. However, if you have received notice that you are the subject of a restraining order, you should be sure to follow the directions contained in the order, and do not contact the petitioner. Next, consult with an experienced Illinois domestic violence attorney from The Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for help building a strong defense against these accusations. Call our office at 630-232-1780 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.