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What does it mean if I receive a restraining order in Illinois?

If you’ve received a restraining order—known in Illinois as an order of protection—you need to be clear on the terms of this order to avoid facing unnecessary penalties. Today we examine the fundamentals of this type of court order.

Types of protective orders

Let’s say, for example, you’ve been charged with a domestic battery offense. The petitioner—the person claiming to be abused—may request that the court issue an order of protection against you. The conditions of such an order vary on a case-by-case basis, but typically there are two main types of prohibitions:

  • No contact
  • No harmful or offensive contact

If you have an order of no contact against you, the order will usually state that you must maintain a certain geographic distance from the petitioner. You can’t go to their place of work, their place of residence or any other place where they’re known to go. You also can’t have any form of electronic communication with that person. Even posting on the petitioner’s Facebook page puts you in violation of this order.

For orders prohibiting harmful or offensive contact, you’re only allowed certain types of contact with the petitioner. Perhaps you have children together, and the order stipulates that your communication can only relate to issues surround your kids. It’s important to read the terms of the order carefully to avoid a violation.

Penalties

If you violate an order of protection, it’s a criminal offense, and the police can arrest you for it. Such a violation is usually considered a Class A misdemeanor, which in Illinois is punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and as much as one year in jail.

If you’ve been served with an order of protection, talk to a criminal defense attorney to get clear on what you should and shouldn’t do.

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