People have boundaries that others should respect, but this isn’t always the case. Some people don’t respect those boundaries and harass or abuse others, even their own family members. Thankfully, the court can intervene and create an Order of Protection for the victim in this situation, limiting the other person from contacting and harassing them. However, there are still some important things you should know about protective orders before you pursue one for yourself.
Illinois has some pretty clear guidelines about who you can obtain an Order of Protection against. The standard guidelines say that you can seek a protective order against any person in your family or home who is committing domestic abuse. You can also obtain protective orders for high-risk adults who have disabilities, elderly family members, and your own children. What does domestic abuse mean in this situation? Generally, domestic abuse includes:
If someone in your home or your family abuses you, your children, or others in your family, and you can’t settle it by yourself, it may be time to seek an Order of Protection.
While many people use protective and restraining orders interchangeably, they are not the same. An Order of Protection is usually a criminal order that law enforcement must enforce, while restraining orders are usually civil. Additionally, as mentioned in the last point, you cannot get an Order of Protection against a person if they are not a family member or member of your household. The people you can obtain restraining orders against include co-workers, neighbors, or other people you regularly interact with.
Some people feel they may have no recourse to protect themselves from people like this, but restraining orders can fill that need. Unlike Orders of Protection, restraining orders outline what the person you’re protecting yourself against can and cannot do to you. However, violating it doesn’t mean a cop immediately issues a fine or takes them to jail. Instead, you must take the evidence to court for a civil resolution. Judges will then take the information and decide on monetary damages or other restrictions on the person you took the restraining order against.
Stalking can fall into a gray area, since many times, a person stalking you will be a family member or someone close to you. However, there can also be times when someone may stalk you but have no close personal relationship with you. In instances like this, you could obtain a restraining order, but you may also be able to get an order of protection since they sometimes commit domestic violence. If the person makes you feel unsafe in your own home through constant messaging, calling your workplace, and cyberstalking, among many other things, you can pursue a protective order.
The court will issue you an Order of Protection if they look through the evidence and believe you need protection from the harassment or abuse you’ve outlined. However, it’s important to remember that each case is different, so an Order of Protection may look completely different from judge to judge and case to case. Some of the biggest things that a judge can place in an Order of Protection include ordering the offender to do the following:
Judges can also intervene in other matters relating to custody or visitation, like requiring the abuser to pay for additional expenses like property damage or medical care. Judges can also include recommendations or requirements that the abuser must attend recovery programs to work on managing their behavior.
An Order of Protection is a great way to protect yourself and your family, but they are not permanent. The standard time frame for an Order of Protection is one year, but you can renew it if you petition the court again. After the court issues the order, the judge can extend the timeframe. Thankfully, there is no fee to petition the court for a protective order or a renewal.
The court can also end your protective order entirely, depending on the situation. For example, as mentioned in the last point, the judge could place a requirement that the person you’ve taken the protective order against seek some kind of recovery program. The judge could stipulate in your protective order that, upon completing the program, the judge will dismiss the order.
Orders of Protection are important ways to protect victims from their abusers, but the court isn’t always known for being quick with how they do things. You could file for a protective order, and the court may not get back to you for a while. Illinois courts can also issue Emergency Orders of Protection where they don’t need to give notice to the alleged abuser.
These orders will last between two and three weeks, and once that time is up, the court will have a hearing to see if they need to take additional action. If the court determines the evidence is sufficient, and they need to prolong protection, it will also issue a Plenary Order of Protection for two years.
These protective orders are meant to do a lot to help the victims in abusive situations, but how do they actually help? Well, if you have an Order of Protection, one of the first and most obvious benefits is that law enforcement can arrest the abuser if they violate the protective order. When you have a protective order, law enforcement will also take your calls more seriously. If your abuser kicked you out of your home, protective orders also make it easier for an officer to accompany you to return to the home and retrieve personal items.
It’s important to know about protective orders, so that you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself if you’re in a situation where someone is harassing or abusing you. A protective order will help protect you and your family, but obtaining one can be tricky since you need to compile evidence and present it to the court. If you want a protective order, don’t hesitate to come to us at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. We are the Chicago domestic battery lawyers you can trust to help you keep you and your family safe.