An order of protection, also called a restraining order, is a court order designed to protect domestic violence victims from their abusers. It is a useful tool created under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act to shield people who have suffered domestic abuse from a spouse in a present or prior marriage, a partner in a dating or engagement relationship or any family member from the possibility of future abuse.
It benefits the petitioner (the person seeking the order). But those at the receiving end (respondents) face many restrictions and losses, which could make life unbearable. And yet, sometimes, some people seek out orders of protection in unjustifiable circumstances just to make life miserable for the other party.
If an order of protection is issued against you, you could lose your home, assets, and custody of your children, depending on the circumstances. Disobeying the order could also lead to jail time and other legal sanctions. Nevertheless, if you’ve been served with a notice that order of protection forms have been filed against you, don’t panic. The law allows you to defend yourself and tell your side of the story before and after the order is granted.
Because order of protection cases often involve people you consider family or members of your household, getting into a legal battle with them may be extra stressful. But you need to look out for yourself first, especially since there’s a good chance that domestic violence charges will also be filed against you.
In such cases, the Hirsch Law Group can provide the legal support and representation you need during this trying time. We’ve prepared this guide to help you understand what you’re up against and some of your legal options as you fight against an unmerited restraining order in Cook County, Illinois.
There are three types of orders of protection that could be granted against you in Illinois as follows:
Emergency Order of Protection: This order is granted in emergencies and protects the petitioner for up to three weeks. It is usually granted ex parte, which means that the respondent (you) does not participate in the proceedings where it is issued. They’ll only learn about it after it has been granted.
Plenary Order of Protection: This order is granted after the respondent has been notified and both parties have been allowed to present their cases. Once granted, it can remain in place for up to two years.
Interim Order of Protection: When a petition for a plenary order of protection has been filed, and there’s no emergency order in place, the court may grant an interim order of protection before or after the respondent is notified of the petition. This type of order can last for up to thirty days.
Depending on the circumstances, an order of protection can restrict your activities in relation to the petitioner in several ways, including the following :
You could be barred from your home if it is shared with the petitioner. You’d have to find somewhere else to live.
You may be required to hand over personal property to the petitioner.
You would be restricted from being present at specific locations where the petitioner frequents
You may lose physical or legal custody of your minor children (temporarily) to the petitioner.
Yet, no matter how unpalatable it may be, an order of protection is a court order, and it must be obeyed. If you violate the order, you could face criminal charges. That is why you must do all you can to ensure that the order is not granted against you in the first place.
With emergency orders of protection, you won’t get a chance to present counter-evidence or deny wrongdoing. You may not even know about it until the emergency protection order has been issued. Nevertheless, you must follow this order faithfully until it expires.
You’ll have your day in court when the petitioner applies for a longer plenary protection order. Once you receive the notice that a hearing date has been set, this is the perfect opportunity to fight an order of protection.
You must respond to the notice appropriately and attend court on the hearing date. Failing to respond to the petition puts you at risk because the judge may make the order without hearing your side.
Domestic violence and order of protection cases are often misused or abused to gain sole custody of a child, remove a spouse from a house, or simply to exact revenge. It is, therefore, essential to have evidence that contradicts the petitioner’s case against you, including text messages, e-mails, and recorded phone calls.
If you’ve had any altercation with the other party in which the police were involved, the police report could also be helpful for your defense.
The specific type of evidence needed in order of protection cases varies with each case. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll need a skilled attorney at this time. They can help you identify and appropriately organize the evidence and present it to the judge to ensure the order is not granted against you.
If a plenary order of protection has been issued against you, all hope is not lost. You can ask the court to terminate or modify the order if you believe the terms are too harsh or the order was issued improperly.
You can also file an appeal against the decision before a higher court.
An experienced Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer can help you navigate the application/appeal process and work to convince the judge to decide in your favor.
Dealing with an order of protection is never easy because the person on the other side is someone you have close ties with. But your reputation and freedom are at stake, so you must fight to secure your interests using the lawful resources at your disposal.
At Hirsch Law Group, we understand the challenges you would encounter if an order of protection is granted against you. If a petition had been filed against you, you can trust us to represent you during the hearing and present solid arguments that could convince the judge to decide in your favor.
If an order of protection has already been issued against you, we can help you navigate the appeal or modification process and work to ensure a positive outcome.
In many order of protection cases, the respondent may also be facing domestic violence charges in a criminal court. Domestic violence is a serious crime, so if that is your case, you’ll need to defend yourself on both ends so you don’t end up in prison. Our fierce Cook County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers can help you fight your charges and work to disprove the case against you.
Call us today to schedule a consultation. Let’s discuss your case and help you determine a suitable strategy and the appropriate legal remedies for your situation.