Lake County Illinois Criminal Court

Lake County Order of Protection Defense

When an order of protection is issued, lives change quickly. Don't allow this to happen without understanding your rights under Illinois law. Our offices provide legal representation to Lake County residents accused of domestic violence or of violating an order of protection. Don't wait to enlist the assistance of a seasoned Lake County defense attorney who will advocate zealously on your behalf in the courtroom. Give our offices a call at (312) 466-9466 for a free legal consultation.

In an order of protection case, there are two parties: the petitioner and the respondent. The petitioner is the alleged victim who files for the order seeking protection. The respondent is the alleged perpetrator whose behavior will be regulated by the order.

If you are the respondent to an emergency order of protection, you have the right to testify in court. Oftentimes, petitioners make false allegations against their spouse or family member, alleging that abuse took place when it really didn't. During a hearing in front of a Lake County judge, the respondent has an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story.

However, a judge may still grant the order. It is up to your criminal defense attorney to make compelling argument and ensure that the conditions of the order are just.

What To Do if An Order of Protection is Filed Against You in Lake County

If someone files an Emergency order of protection against you, the State is required to serve you with papers notifying you of the order. The first thing you should do after receiving notice is read the documents with careful attention to what is required of you.

Various documents will be enclosed in the papers you are served. They include:

  • The Petition for Order of Protection
  • The Emergency Order of Protection (if one was entered)
  • Any supporting statements and accusations

The order usually provides the reasons why the judge issued it. Even if the allegations against you are false, you must follow the Emergency Order. If you violate the order, you could face criminal fine or even jail time. Violating an Order of Protection is a crime in Illinois.

The order will also notify you of a future court date, which usually occurred 14-21 days later. The hearing is a chance for you to explain to a judge what happened from your perspective.

However, if you choose to do nothing, it is not a crime to not show up to the hearing. But in our experience advocating for respondents to orders of protection, we do not recommend this option. If you miss the hearing, you lose your chance to fight the terms the order, which could place severe restrictions on your movement or prohibit contact with important family members.

The hearing for the plenary Order of Protection will always occur in front of a judge. In Illinois, you do not have a right to a trial by jury in Order of Protection hearings. In Lake County, as of 2017, Judge Veronica M. O'Malley presides over these types of cases.

Fighting a Lake County Order of Protection

Will County order of protection cases shouldn't be taken lightly. If you are later charged with violating an order of protection, there could be serious consequences involved. The basis for a charge of violation could be as simple as entering the workplace of the victim or another area that the order prohibits.

There are several tactics for challenging the order, including effective cross-examination. If the victim made up the charges, a lawyer can question him or her on the witness stand and poke holes in their story.

In addition, the respondent and his or her attorney may present additional evidence during the hearing. For instance, they may call a witness to the stand who can testify that the respondent was acting in self-defense and did not initiate the incident.

Based on the facts of your case, some of these strategies may be applicable for you. Our offices provide consultation about which legal arguments will be most effective for your particular Lake County order of protection case.

Modify a Restraining Order in Lake County

Orders of Protection can be cancelled or changed after they have been granted. Under Illinois law, both the petitioner and the respondent have the right to petition to modify an order. However, challenging an order of protection is not easy. Judges are frequently reluctant to change orders of protection once they have been issued. It is always better to fight an order of protection at the initial hearing than wait until after the judge has already approved the plenary order.

What is the Punishment for Violating an Order of Protection in Lake County?

The legal ramifications of violating an order of protection in Lake County depend on the classification of the order violated.

For Domestic Violence Orders of Protection, a first violation is a Class A misdemeanor. However, a second violation can result in Class 4 felony charges. The charge may also be upgraded to a felony is the accused already has domestic convictions on his record.

For Sexual Assault Civil No Contact Orders and Stalking No Contact Orders, it also a Class A misdemeanor for first violations. Any subsequent violations are considered a Class 4 felony.

For Class A misdemeanors, you can be sentenced for up to one year in county jail. However, it is also common to receive probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision in lieu of imprisonment. On the other hand, a Class 4 felony can result in 1-3 years in prison. In some cases, you can receive Felony Probation for a Felony Restraining Order Violation.

Just like any criminal charge, you will be able to post bond for violating and order of protection in Lake County, unless the court does not offer you the option of bond because it finds you a danger to the public. When a judge issues bond, he usually takes into consideration a defendant's past criminal history as well as the severity of the alleged crime.

It should be noted that a conviction for an Order of Protection Violation cannot be sealed or expunged. In other words, once a judge finds you guilt of this charge, it will be on your criminal record forever.

Winning Lake County Order of Protection Cases

The Law Office of Steven R. Hunter provides representation in all types of order of protection cases. We represent both sides -- those who want to obtain an order as well as those who have had false claims lodged against them. In some cases, the terms of the order are unreasonable, and as your attorney we will fight in court to modify the terms so that both parties' rights are preserved.

Even though it is possible to obtain or dispute a Lake County order of protection without an attorney, it is always wise to understand what you are getting yourself into before walking into a courtroom and testifying before a judge. In these types of cases, there is a lot at stake. Because we advocate for clients on both sides of Order of Protection, we have a unique, dual insight that gives us an edge in Lake County domestic cases. We have a proven record of representing clients successfully in these cases. For a free domestic violence consultation, our Lake County criminal defense attorneys can be reached at (312) 466-9466.

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