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The Difference Between an “Order of Protection” and a “Stalking No Contact Order”

In Illinois there are two separate ways an individual may petition the Court for injunctive relief to keep another individual to prevent having contact with them. The most common is under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act codified under Statute 750 ILCS 60 and called an “Order of Protection,” however years ago the legislation passed a new law to allow for similar protections for individuals who would not qualify for an Order of Protection because there is not a domestic relationship; this newer statute is named the Stalking No Contact Order Act and codified under Statute 740 ILCS 21 which allows for protection for individuals who have no domestic relationship but one person is endangered by harassing and stalking behavior.

The Domestic Relationship Required for Orders of Protection

In order to obtain an Order of Protection the person trying to obtain the Order must have some sort of domestic relationship with the person that they allege that they need protection from. The types of qualifying relationships are defined by statute. The law basically includes all family members, or people who have or had a dating relationship, or people who do or did live together regardless of a dating or family relationship.

The Qualifying Acts Required for Stalking No Contact Orders

A No Stalking No Contact Order differs from an Order of Protection in that is does not require a domestic relationship. A Stalking No Contact Order simply requires the person who is trying to obtain the stay away Order to present a history of unwanted contact, such as harassment, stalking, unwanted phone calls, emails, test messages, or any other acts of harassment that were unwanted. Typically a person will list a minimum of three specific events. Usually the person needs to also inform the person that they want to get the Order against that they should not be acting in this manner or contacting them prior to the event that leads to the petition for the Stalking and No Contact Order, however, this is not always the case and not reasonable in some situations where the offender doesn’t personally know who the perpetrator is.

The Remedies Available for Both Orders of Protection and Stalking No Contact Orders

Both the Order of Protection and the Stalking No Contact Order have similar protections. If the Judge grants the Order then it can prevent a person from any combination of the following acts towards the petitioner for the Order: No Contact, Not to be within a specified distance of the person or their home, school, work place, or other specific locations, to not have contact through email, phone, text messages, social media, or even through third persons, not to harass the other person, or to stalk the other person, or interfere with the petitioner’s personal property and pets, and basically have no unlawful contact by any means. The Orders both have conditions that the person controlled by the Order, the “Respondant” not be allowed to possess a firearm.

The Similarities Between Orders of Protections and Stalking No Contact Orders in Court

Both of these types of restraining Orders are heard by a Judge sitting in Civil Court. These are no qualified as “Criminal Cases,” but rather as “Quasi-Criminal” matters because a violation of the Order can have criminal consequences. Therefore, the civil rules of procedure apply and it is important to hire an attorney who knows the procedures. Most commonly the Judge sitting in the courtroom that hears both the Order of Protection and Stalking No Contact Order Cases will have a designated court call hearing only these types of cases and no other matters. There are some exceptions to that generalization in that if there is a pending charge of Domestic Battery, or similar offense, the case will be heard by the Criminal Judge, as opposed to the Civil Judge; also, if there is a pending divorce or child custody issue the case will be transferred to the judge handling the respective case.

These Cases are Very Serious

The consequences of not being allowed to obtain an Order or the consequences of having a judge enter an Order against you are very life changing. In not obtaining the Order it allows for the perpetrator to continue engaging in the unwanted and unwarranted behavior. Often the case is that if the unwanted behavior continues it will escalate and eventually could result in a very serious and harmful event. On the other hand, a lot of these cases are unwarranted and used simply to gain leverage against an individual. The accused will have this proceeding lodged in their criminal history and any violations could end in potential jail time. Whether you are defending yourself for an Order or trying to obtain an Order it is in your best interest to obtain legal counsel that knows all of the ins-and-outs of this area of law. Attorney David Olshansky is available for free consultations at (312) 203-5500.