We strive endlessly in the pursuit of justice on behalf of our clients. If you are looking for someone to help you respond to or petition for a McHenry County Order of Protection or Restraining Order, contact our firm today. To schedule a free in-person consultation, call (312) 466-9466.
We're in the business of helping you not be victimized by an order of protection or a justice system that is not treating you fairly. If you live in McHenry County and feel that you are being unjustly and falsely accused, we may be able to help you get to a better place.
Orders of protection are often referred to as "restraining orders," which exist to protect victims of abuse from further harm. Abuse could be physical or sexual, such as grabbing, pushing, hitting, kicking, or choking, as well as verbal, such as threats to hurt you or repeated phone calls. These orders can also protect children of the victim.
In these types of cases, the person needing protection is referred to as the "Petitioner," while the term "Respondent" describes the alleged abuser or perpetrator that the victim needs protection from.
Like every other county in Illinois, McHenry County officials can grant an order of protection and they will prosecute violations of an order of protection. In many instances, false accusations or outright lies may be at play. A criminal defense attorney specializing in order of protection criminal defense will often help to shed light on the true story.
In Illinois, there are three categories of Order of Protection.
If you are involved with an order of protection case in McHenry County, it's good to understand as much as you can about the three protection order types.
The first and most common, a Domestic Violence Order of Protection, dictates interaction between spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends, exes, roommates, or within families. People with disabilities who are assaulted by their caretaker can also be protected under this type of order.
If the order of protection is imposed, a judge has the power to issue any of 18 potential remedies to prevent another instance of violence. These include ordering the perpetrator to stay away from the victim's home, requiring financial support be paid by the accused, or revoking the accused's FOID card.
Sexual Assault Civil No Contact Orders are the second type of order. The two parties involved do not need to be family members or meet certain relationship criteria. They could be coworkers, family members, or complete strangers. As a result of these orders, the accused person could be prohibited from contacting the victim in anyway, which includes staying away from specific locations, such as the victim's home, school or workplace.
Finally, Stalking No Contact Orders are granted when someone fears for their safety or suffers emotional distress due to the "course of conduct" of another person. In plain language, when someone feels they are being stalked or are in danger of violence, they should file for this type of order. The remedies for this type of order resemble closely those listed above for sexual assault no contact orders.
In all of these cases, 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.
There are two ways an order of protection can come about. In some cases, a victim of abuse will file for an order. In other instances, orders of protection can also be issued automatically in the course of a criminal case. If the State brings charges of domestic battery against a defendant, for example, the court may also enter an order of protection that stays in effect throughout the case proceedings.
In any of these cases, if a restraining order is lodged against you, the state is required to notify you and serve you with papers. It is exceedingly important to follow the rules of the order, even if you know that the allegations against you are false. Violating an order of protection is a crime under Illinois law.
We represent clients on both sides of McHenry County order of protection cases. 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.
For a long-term order of protection to be granted, there must be a hearing before a judge where both parties have the chance to share their side of the story. Although orders of protection exist to protect victims of abuse, the court system allows for a balance so that fake allegations don't place serious limitations on an innocent respondent's daily life.
However, because it takes time to schedule a hearing and the responding party must be notified, the court also offers the option of Emergency Orders of Protection, which usually last 14-21 days and are meant to hold a purported victim of abuse over under a formal hearing can be held.
If someone files for an emergency order of protection, the court does not have to contact the alleged abuser. The victim goes before a judge to make their case for the imposition of the order. Because the procedure is fairly one-sided, the judge almost always grants the Emergency Order. You may also hear an emergency order referred to as an "interim" order.
A longer-term order -- often called a Plenary Order of Protection -- can last up to two years but must result from a hearing before a judge in which both parties are present. 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.
If you have had an order of protection filed against you, you will be served with papers providing the details for a court hearing. You have the right to dispute the imposition of the order and present evidence of your innocence in front of a judge.
To be eligible for a Domestic Violence Order of Protection in McHenry County, the situation must meet several requirements.
As mentioned above, there must be a "domestic" relationship between the petitioner and respondent. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to live with each other, but it does require that there is some sort of substantial relationship between the two parties. For cases that do not meet this requirement, a petitioner still may be able to get a No Contact Order.
An emergency order of protection is most likely to be granted if the petitioner files for it within 72 hours after the most recent incident of abuse. It becomes harder to obtain an order the more time passes in between the incident and the request. The order is also more likely to be granted if there is a history of abuse or if the abuse has been getting worse recently.
Finally, to qualify for an order of protection McHenry County, either the petitioner must live in the county, the respondent lives in the county, or the abuse took place in the county. Otherwise, the case must filed in another locality. Victim advocates typically advise petitioners to file for an order of protection in the county where they live, even if the abuse happened elsewhere.
There are no fees charged for obtaining an Order of Protection or for the service of that order -- it is completely free of charge.
Petitioners often ask: How do I file for an order of protection in McHenry County? The court recommends they fill out the form online at www.IllinoisProtectionOrder.org. For McHenry County orders of protection, the petitioner must make sure to select McHenry County from the drop-down menu. Once they have completed the petition, they can report with the receipt number to the McHenry County Circuit Clerk in Room 353 on the 3rd floor of the McHenry County Government Center. At that point, the petition is considered filed. You will be assigned a case number, and a judge will begin reviewing the case. If the judge approves, thee petition, the temporary order of protection is granted and its components go into effect immediately.
For immediate in-person assistance, a victim can go to Turning Point, an advocacy organization located in Room 351 of the McHenry County Government Center at 2200 N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock, IL. They can help a victim fill out and submit the petition. For more information about Turning Point, its hours of operation, and available services, visit the McHenry County Turning Point website.
When you are granted the emergency order, the court will automatically schedule another hearing which will determine whether the temporary order will be replaced with a longer-term order.
Now, you have a good understanding of the order of protection process in McHenry County, but if you feel you are unjustly accused of stalking or abuse, you will be happy to know that the court system wants to hear both sides of the story. The presumption of innocence is in play, as it should always be.
During this hearing, both parties -- the accused and the accuser -- have a right to be present and testify. Oftentimes, the petitioner claims one version of the truth while the respondent denies the claims.
Both parties have the opportunity to present their account to a judge. After hearing evidence presented by both sides, the judge issues a decision, either granting the order for a period of up to two years or denying the petition.
Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent, you have the right to bring a criminal defense lawyer to represent you at this hearing. It is important to come prepared with evidence or witness testimony that will strengthen your account of the incident. An experienced McHenry County criminal defense attorney can help you identify how to present a strong case.
Get good legal counsel as soon as possible. As we have discussed above, although it is possible to obtain or dispute a McHenry 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.
We regularly help people who are dealing with an order of protection accusation, or an accusation that they violated an order of protection. We have also worked with victims (petitioners), in cases where they are being accused of lying about their accusations. Criminal justice is about getting to the truth and about ensuring that the process is fair. That is what we do here.
If you take away one thing from reading our information on McHenry County order of protection cases, it is this: going it on your own, without an experience attorney, is not smart. Get the best order of protection lawyer you can find and listen closely to their advice. (Our law firm is recognized as one of the best in the Chicago area for these cases, and we would love to assist you, but we'd rather you go with another firm than go it alone. Sadly, the stakes on these cases are often higher than people realize.)
Call us to see if we can earn your business and represent you. Our experience advocating for both petitioners and respondents in Order of Protection cases gives us unique insight and provides an edge in fighting your McHenry County Order of Protection case. To talk about the specifics of your Order of Protection case, call our McHenry County criminal defense attorneys at (312) 466-9466.