Don't fight your case alone. If you are looking for someone to help you petition or respond to a Lake County Order of Protection or Restraining Order, look no further. Contact our criminal defense firm's office to discuss your Lake County domestic violence case at (312) 466-9466.
Order of protection cases can be tricky. Usually, one party claims one version of the truth while the other has a completely different story. During order of protection proceedings, the court attempts to determine the truth of the matter and take action that is just and ensures the safety of relevant parties.
At the Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter, we advocate for clients on both sides of a Lake County order of protection case. Over our thirty years in the courtroom, we have fought successfully on behalf of both petitioners and respondents, as well as defendants who have been arrested for violating an order of protection.
What is an Order of Protection? Usually, Order of Protection cases are the result of a domestic incident. The victim files for an Order of Protection, which, if granted, places constraints on the alleged perpetrator. For example, the accused might have to limit his contact with the accuser, and oftentimes they must avoid the petitioner's place of employment or residence. In the most extreme cases, an order can force the defendant to leave home if it is shared with the accuser or to have no contact or limited contact with any children of the relationship. Many other restrictions are also possible.
Having an order of protection filed against you is not a criminal charge. However, an order of protection can turn into a criminal prosecution if it is violated. A conviction of Violation of an Order of Protection can have more severe consequences for a defendant. Below, we will delve more into the types of Orders of Protection and the process for these types of cases in Lake County. For information on how to fight an Order of Protection, visit our article on Lake County Order of Protection Defense.
Orders of protection exist to protect victims of abuse from further harm. In 1986, the Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. This comprehensive act authorizes the Court to issue three different types of orders:
Now, let's take a look at each of these protection order types.
Domestic Violence Order of Protection
To obtain a domestic violence order of protection, the victim and perpetrator must have one of the following relationships:
There are 18 potential remedies that a judge can order in a domestic violence order of protection case. For example, the judge can order the accused to stay away from the victim's home, revoke the offender's FOID card, require financial support be paid by the accused, or order temporary care for children. The remedies prescribed by the court will depend on the severity of the incident, as well as the strength of the legal arguments made by the accused and his criminal defense lawyer.
Sexual Assault -- Civil No Contact Order
The order offers protection to victims of non-consensual sexual conduct. The two parties need not meet the relationship criteria listed above. They could be family or household members, coworkers, or strangers.
In most cases, as a result of the order, the accused is prohibited from contacting the victim in any way. Oftentimes, the offender is ordered to stay away from specific locations, such as the victim's home, workplace, or school. In extreme cases, a judge may order the offender to transfer to another school, if the survivor and perpetrator attend the same school.
Stalking -- No Contact Order
This third type order can be issued to "any person who is the victim of a course of conduct that causes the victim to fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person or to suffer emotional distress," according to Illinois law. In other words, if someone feels they are being stalked and are in danger, or they suffer emotional distress related to being stalked, they file for this type of order.
In stalking cases, the Court can grant any or all of the following prescribed remedies:
There are two types of orders: an Emergency Order and a Plenary Order. Emergency orders are valid only for two to three weeks, while plenary orders can last up to two years. You may also hear an emergency order referred to as an "interim" order.
Usually, an emergency order is imposed immediately after a reported incident of domestic violence. It is also possible to request and emergency order of protection by going to the Lake County courthouse.
An emergency or interim order of protection is short-term and lasts only until there is a formal hearing in court. At the hearing, both the accused and the accuser have the opportunity to tell their side of the story and testify in front of a judge.
A standard, or Plenary Order of Protection lasts longer and results from a hearing before a judge. If someone files an Order of Protection against you, you will be served with papers providing the details for a court hearing. A respondent in an Order of Protection case has the right to dispute the imposition of the order and provide counter-testimony in front of a judge.
In Lake County, there is a specific process for filing an order of protection. The next section will outline the procedure and describe Lake County Court's specific order of protection process.
If you would like to file for an emergency order of protection in Lake County, you must fill out the court form, which can be found online at the Lake County Circuit Clerk's Office website.
These forms are also available at A Safe Place office in the Lake County Court Annex, which is in Room D100, on the second floor of the annex, 18 N County Street, Waukegan, IL. The office staff offers assistance filling out the forms. According to the Court Clerk, the process from start to finish can take for several hours.
After the forms are properly filled out, there will be a hearing before a judge. Lake County Order of Protection hearings are heard in courtroom C-207. When you appear before the judge, you should bring the forms you have filled out. You will have the opportunity to explain to the judge the details of the incident. To issue the order, the Court needs only "reasonable cause to believe" that a person has been subjected to domestic violence.
If you are granted the emergency order, the court will schedule another hearing, which will determine whether the order will stay in place. During this hearing, both parties -- the accused and the accuser -- have a right to be present and testify.
You have the right to bring an attorney to represent you at this hearing, and we recommend that you do so. It is also important to come prepared with evidence or witness that will demonstrate what happened. A knowledgeable Lake County criminal defense attorney can help you identify how to present airtight testimony and prove your case successfully.
During the hearing, the judge will hear the testimony of both parties and then issue a decision, either granting the order for a period of up to two years or denying the petition. If the accuser does not appear for this hearing, the order will be automatically dismissed. However, if the accused does not show, the petition can still be issued.
Although it is possible to obtain or dispute a Will County order of protection without a lawyer, it is always wise to understand what you are getting yourself into before walking into a courtroom and testifying before a judge. Orders of protection can seriously impinge on a respondent's ability to go about his daily activities and in severe cases may require major life adjustments and reorganization.
Our experience advocating for both petitioners and respondents in Order of Protection cases gives us unique insight and provides an edge in fighting your Lake County Order of Protection case. To talk about your Order of Protection case, call our Lake County criminal defense attorneys at (312) 466-9466.