Domestic violence is a problem throughout the United States, including Illinois. Studies show that domestic abuse results in more injuries that require medical attention than rape, accidents, and muggings put together. Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, threatens, or interferes with the personal liberty of a family or household member has committed a crime. Amendments to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 have mandated that law enforcement act to protect victims of domestic violence. This assistance can come in the form of an order of protection, which is often referred to as a restraining order. It is important to understand the difference between these legal documents in order to avoid criminal charges for violating one in Illinois, even if it was issued under false pretenses.
Illinois Restraining Order
Under Illinois law, a restraining order is a broad term that describes orders that are issued by a civil court to enforce someone to do or not do something. These types of orders sometimes occur more frequently in divorce cases rather than abuse cases. An example might be to prevent a spouse from canceling a health or life insurance policy during divorce proceedings. Also called financial restraining orders, they can freeze much of the marital assets to prevent a spouse from withdrawing funds before the divorce settlement is finalized.
Illinois Order of Protection
An order of protection is a specific type of order that is issued by an Illinois court to keep an alleged victim safe from domestic violence from a family or household member. These types of orders carry harsher penalties than restraining orders and can be enforced more easily.
A protective order can vary depending on the circumstances, but it generally includes the following terms that an alleged abuser must follow:
Stop abuse or threats
Move out of a shared residence with the victim
Stay away from the alleged victim and other people protected by the order, including minor children or other family members
Refrain from contacting the alleged victim (in person or electronically)
Stay away from the alleged victim’s house, school, or workplace
Surrender any firearms to law enforcement and prohibit the purchase of a gun
Pay child support or relinquish custody of a minor child
Enter counseling or treatment for domestic abuse
Penalties for Violating Protective Orders
The legal consequences for violating an order of protection can be severe in Illinois. A first-time violation is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which could include up to 364 days in jail on top of a fine. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony with increased jail time and a permanent criminal record. A violation of an order of protection can be enforced by police, while violations of a restraining order are generally classified as a civil matter and are therefore handled by the court.
Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney
False allegations of domestic abuse are sometimes made out of anger or jealousy. At Anderson Attorneys & Advisors, we have experience in representing individuals who are falsely accused. If you or someone you know is facing an order of protection or has violated the terms of a restraining order, we can help. Our diligent and skilled DuPage County criminal defense lawyers will make sure your rights are protected while doing everything in our power to obtain a not guilty verdict. Call our office today at 630-877-5800 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.