No Stalking Order and Orders of Protection, What’s the difference?

A common legal result of a domestic dispute is often the order of protection or the stalking, no-contact orders which are designed to give the parties a cooling off period. Temporary at first, such an order can be made permanent if a judge feels there is a need to keep people away from each other.

Domestic violence is no laughing matter and is serious problem within our community. And while relationship problems can usually be worked out without involvement from the criminal justice system, there are times when it is necessary for a judge to step in and say, “enough, don’t go near one another.”

Under Illinois law, there are two ways this can happen. An order of protection and a stalking, no-contact order. So what’s the difference? An order of protection can only involve those who are in a domestic relationship or who are related. According to the Illinois Attorney General’s web site, that includes:

  • family members related by blood;
  • people who are married or used to be married;
  • people who share or used to share a home, apartment, or other common dwelling;
  • people who have or allegedly have child in common or a blood relationship through a child in
  • common;
  • people who are dating or engaged or used to date, including same sex couples; and
  • people with disabilities and their personal assistants.

Those who feel threatened by someone who isn’t related can petition the court, using a similar method as with an order of protection, to obtain a stalking, no-contact order. In essence, they are the same thing but one is for those who are related or in a relationship and the other isn’t.

In both cases, the idea is to require a harassing person to stop with threats and abusive behavior or actions. It can require the abuser to stay away from your home, your place of employment, your children’s school and even other places that you frequent. Here is a small sampling of some of the things an order of protection can require a person to do:

  • require abuser to attend counseling;
  • prohibit abuser from hiding a child from you or taking a child out of state;
  • require abuser to appear in court or bring a child to court;
  • give you temporary physical possession of children or give you temporary legal custody;
  • specify visitation rights (if and when visitation is awarded);
  • bar abuser from accessing child’s records;

The remedies are similar in the stalking, no-contact situation. In both cases, a person must petition the court for such an order. You could hire an attorney to fill out the petition or go to the courthouse to see if there is an office for this. In Peoria County, the office is located on the ground floor near the treasurer’s office.

A judge will then review the petition and either issue an emergency order which grants a temporary, two-week to three-week cooling off period or deny the petition outright. If an emergency order is granted, then both sides can obtain attorneys and present evidence at a hearing. The outcome of that hearing could result in a more permanent order which last months or the outright dismissal.

Either way, the consequences and the ramifications are great. If you violate one, a first offense is a class A misdemeanor which exposes a person to as much as a year in the county jail. A second offense is class 4 felony and carries a maximum of three years in prison. Beyond that, violation of these can have serious effects on your civil rights including the right to obtain a firearms owners ID card. It could also affect one’s standing to obtain or to maintain custody of a child, even visitation.

Such offenses are serious and require a serious attorney who understands the law and who knows how to protect your interests. That’s Miller Law Offices where we focus on your problem, your issue. No domestic violence matter is the same and you need an attorney who understands how stressful and traumatic such a situation can be. Here at Miller Law Offices, we will do everything in our power to make sure you and your family are safe.

Posted in Criminal Law

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