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What Happens When an Order of Protection is Violated?

Let’s say that you have been issued a restraining order, whether an Emergency Order of Protection, Plenary Order of Protection, or Stalking No Contact Order. Outside observers of the situation may assume that you are an awful person to have a victim petition for an order against you, but maybe the reality is more complicated than that. Maybe you have been cheated on or lied to and things got a little too heated every time that you attempted to bring up the issue. Perhaps after being issued an order, you thought that you could smooth things over and make contact with the victim of the order. Maybe you thought you could talk it out.

Big Mistake. You can find yourself in deep legal trouble even on the first violation of an Order of Protection. Violating again can be a felony, and courts do not like to take mercy on violators of the terms of a restraining order, no matter what reasons you may have had in mind.

What Kinds of Charges Can be Filed Against a Violator?

First violations of an Order of Protection are considered Class A Misdemeanors which means that violators can be sentenced to one year in jail and be given fines of up to $2,500. Sentencing and fines will be ultimately up to the discretion of the court and while a violator may expect to find some leniency on a first violation, they certainly will not on the second offense.

Subsequent offenses of an order of protection can be charged as Class 4 Felonies and require 24 hours in jail at each offense. Offenders can be sentenced to 1-3 years in jail and fined up to $25,000.

What Counts as a Violation in an Order of Protection Case?

Violations in an order of protection case will depend on the terms set forth by the court. When you are issued your restraining order, pay close attention to the details set forth and document them in an easily accessible place. Section 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4 specifies that:

A person is guilty of violating an order of protection if he or she commits an act which was prohibited by a court or fails to commit an act which was ordered by a court as a remedy in an order of protection, and such violation occurs after the offender has been served notice of the contents of the order or otherwise has acquired actual knowledge of the contents of the order.

Crucially, you can find yourself in hot water for failing to commit a required action as well as for committing prohibited acts.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help if you have been issued an order of protection Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help in your order of protection-related cases. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

Different Terms and Burdens for Emergency vs Plenary Orders of Protection

Whether you have found yourself as the offending party in a restraining order case or you are a victim seeking out a restraining order, you should know the different term lengths of emergency orders and plenary orders of protection and their differing burdens.

It is important that you understand the differences so that, if you are a victim, you can start the legal process most appropriate for you.

If you are the respondent in a restraining order case, you should understand the differences because depending on the type of order, you will have different restrictions. Additionally, with an emergency order, the respondent is not required to be present at an evidence-based hearing. This will mean that as a respondent, you will not be able to defend yourself or provide evidence of your innocence. Because of this limitation, emergency orders do not last as long as plenary orders.

Term Length of an Emergency Order and Burden of Proof

Emergency Order of Protection or Emergency Stalking No Contact Orders are intended to provide protection quickly for a petitioner, without placing them at risk of harm by requiring a hearing process that could aggravate their abuser. Petitioners must provide written attestation of instances of abuse and attest that their offender’s action would cause any reasonable person to become distressed and that they were distressed by their offender’s actions.

The hearing for an emergency order of protection is less involved than a hearing for a plenary order. The emergency order will be granted by the judge if they believe that the victim is credible and that the threat upon them is credible. Emergency Orders can be granted for a period of seven days to a maximum period of 21 days.

Term Length of a Plenary Order and Burden of Proof

If the victim wishes to gain protection for a longer period of time, they must file paperwork for a plenary order. For the protection of the victim, hearings for a plenary order generally take place on or before the expiration date of an emergency order. At a plenary order hearing, a judge will hear testimony from both sides and review evidence as well as the testimony of any witnesses. In a plenary hearing victims must prove through testimony and through evidence that they have suffered abuse at the hands of the respondent. Once granted, plenary orders last for a period of two years and the victim may petition the court to extend order when the expiration date approaches.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in matters involving your safety. Do not delay in applying for an EOP if you need one. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help, especially if you have been granted an EOP and need help applying for a plenary Order of Protection to extend your emergency order. If you need help defending yourself in a plenary hearing where you feel you are innocent, we have extensive experience mounting a defense. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

Certificates of Innocence Require That Petitioners Prove Innocence of All Charges

Summary of Thomas Warner’s Case and Appeals

The news is full of people who have had the charges dropped against them by the state because of bad evidence, recanting witnesses and, at times, even police misconduct. Most people think once they have the charges dismissed and expunged, they are entitled to a Certificate of Innocence. This is often not the case.

A certificate of innocence has just one function. It serves no purpose other than to permit its bearer the right to sue the government for damages. A person who secures a certificate of innocence may then file a petition in the state’s Court of Claims seeking compensation against the State of Illinois.

In 2012, 17-year-old Thomas Warner was arrested within 1,000 feet of a school currently in session. When arrested, Warner confessed to police that he was in possession of a firearm and did not possess an FOID card. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school and six counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW) including one for possessing a firearm without a valid firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card. As part of a plea deal, he pled guilty to one count of possessing a firearm without a valid FOID card and the rest of the charges were nolle-prossed.

At a later hearing, Warner asked the court to vacate his AUUW conviction on the grounds that the statute which was based on had since been ruled unconstitutional. The AUUW was vacated. Warner later sought a certificate of innocence (COI) on the basis that due to his vacated conviction, he was now eligible. Certificates of Innocence can be granted to individuals who are innocent of all charges for which they were incarcerated.

The state court argued that Warner was ineligible for a COI because he had to prove innocence to all of the charges, not only the charges which were prosecuted. Warner appealed the decision, but the appellate court upheld the states position, citing 2-702(g)(3) which requires a petition show that he is “innocent of the offenses charged in the indictment or information[.]”
Because Warner did not claim to be innocent of the other charges, even though they were not prosecuted, the appellate court agreed with the state that Warner was not eligible for a COI. Both the state court and the appellate court’s decisions hinged upon the wording in section g of the above statute.

Consequences of the Decision for Legal Precedent

Thomas Warner’s case shows that if you have been charged with multiple charges in a court case, you will need to prove your innocence of all charges if you are seeking a certificate of innocence. Even if you were not prosecuted for some of those charges, you will need to prove that you were innocent of each charge in order to get a COI. This will be a tough, uphill legal battle and you will need a good and experienced lawyer if you want to succeed.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

It is important to get professional help in order to seek out a COI. Do not delay in acquiring legal help from our law offices. Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help, especially if you need help proving innocence in charges which may not have been prosecuted. Make sure to acquire legal assistance the whole way through. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.