A separation, divorce, or custody dispute can cause emotions to run hot. An emotionally unstable spouse may become abusive when he or she is confronted with possible family changes. Some people choose to leave their spouse or seek full custody of their children precisely because their partner is abusive. Domestic violence is shockingly common in the United States. On average, 10 million Americans suffer as a result of domestic violence each year, and about one in three women and one in four men will suffer intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are legal options for those who wish to protect themselves or their children from an abusive partner.
Understanding Orders of Protection in Illinois
In Illinois, orders of protection are designed to protect a person from the threat of imminent harm. An emergency order of protection can be easily acquired and does not require the person seeking the order of protection to give notice to his or her abuser. An emergency order is a short-term measure typically given to a victim by a judge for up to 21 days. This gives the abused person time to request a longer-term protection order if necessary.
A plenary order of protection can last for up to two years and can be renewed upon review when it expires. These protection orders can include various provisions but generally require the alleged abuser to stay away from the accuser and/or their children or family.
Violating an Order of Protection Is a Crime
Violating the terms of a valid order of protection is a criminal offense. In Illinois, it is against the law to commit any act or fail to perform an action that was ordered by the court in a valid order of protection after the person in question has been made aware of the existence of the order and its terms. Violating an order of protection is usually a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense which is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. In more extreme cases, violating an order of protection can be prosecuted as a Class 4 felony offense. A conviction on felony charges is punishable by fines of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to three years. Subsequent violations of a protective order result in more severe criminal charges. Additionally, a person who violates an order of protection may be found to be in contempt of court.
Violating an Order of Protection Can Affect Parental Rights
A judge presiding over a parental responsibilities dispute will typically presume that it would not be in the child’s best interest to place him or her in the care of an abusive parent. If there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that allegations of abuse are true, the abusive parent’s parenting time or visitation can be severely limited or require supervision. While violating a protective order might not rise to the level of abuse on its own, the issuance of the order indicates that abuse is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Contact a Chicago Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, a Cook County family law attorney can help. We can assist you in petitioning the court for an order of protection and securing safety for yourself and children. Call 312-442-2225 for a free, confidential consultation today at NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq. today.