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Violations of Orders of Protection

If a Court has issued an Order of Protection against a person, either an Emergency, Interim, Plenary, or No Stalking and No Contact Order the ramifications of violating any of those Orders from the Court can be very serious. Order of Protection cases are considered Civil Cases under law, however they are considered “Quasi-Criminal Cases” because a violation of any of the provisions of the order lands the Respondent out of Civil Court and straight into Criminal Court facing the criminal charge of Violation of Order of Protection looking at the very real possibility of jail time either in the County jail, the State Penitentiary, or even the Federal Penitentiary. It is mainly because of the severe penalties that it is important that if you are subject to any form of an Order of Protection that it is best that you hire a competent attorney in the beginning stages of the case. It should be noted that you do not have a right to a Public Defender in the Civil Order of Protection proceeding, however, if the circumstances didn’t work for you at the time of the original proceeding and an Order got granted it is best to hire an attorney that has a lot of experience in working with these specific types of cases. The issue of the cross between the Civil judicial system and the Criminal is a hybrid type of legal knowledge that many attorneys do not possess. The Domestic Law Firm of David Olshansky has a solid basis in the specific issues presented by both the Civil and Criminal legal jurisdictions as related to these issues.

What Does it Mean to be Charged With Violating an Order of Protection?

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of Violation of an Order of Protection under Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4 it means that at some time previous to the charge a person received an Order from the Court prohibiting the Respondent, and now termed a criminal Defendant, from committing certain acts such as not contacting any protected party and possibly ordering the Respondent to do certain acts such as counseling, pay fees, make restitution, and pay support to the victim and the now defendant violated the terms of that judicial order. The charge for which the person accused must have occurred at a time when the Order of Protection was still valid and actionable. It must also be proved that the defendant was served in some manner, either physically or by publication, of the prohibited conduct. Once a complaint is made for the violation of the order either a criminal charge or warrant is lodged and the police will take the accused into custody until there is a bond hearing and eventually a trial. Violations of Orders of Protection are most usually prosecuted the Office of the State’s Attorney but can be prosecuted by the Municipal Attorney, Attorney General’s Office, or a Federal Prosecutor.

What are the Penalties for Violating an Order of Protection?

Most commonly in Chicago the charge of Violation of An Order of Protection is charged as a misdemeanor and the case will be prosecuted by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office and heard at the courthouse at 555 W. Harrison St. in Chicago. Most charges of Violation of an Order of Protection are Class A Misdemeanors in Illinois which are punishable by up to one year in jail. However, if the accused has a prior conviction for domestic battery, or other violent crimes delineated by the statute, the prosecution my elect to charge the accused as a Class 4 felony. A defendant charged with a Class four felony faces time in the State Penitentiary for a period of time of one to three years. Probation is also a potential outcome for the accused.

What to do if You are Charged With Violating an Order of Protection

Like all criminal charges it is the best advice an attorney can give that the accused makes no statements to any person, including the police, family, or any investigator involved in the process. The accused needs competent counsel who knows and understands both the criminal procedure and the civil procedure that originally resulted in the Order being granted. There most likely will need to be a lot of investigation into the allegations as a lot of evidence in these charges can stem from complicated evidentiary foundational sources such as email, text messages, voice messages, and social media posts.