Orders of protection (OPs) are a type of civil restraining order in Illinois for domestic abuse situations. The OP process is separate from criminal proceedings for domestic battery charges, and there doesn’t have to be a criminal case for someone to seek an order of protection against you.
How an order of protection can impact you
Orders of protection can have a big impact on your life. The terms can restrict you from many things, including:
- Living in your home, if you share the residence with the person seeking the order
- Contacting the person who sought the protection order
- Staying away from that person’s home, work, school or other areas
- Possessing or carrying a firearm
If you have children with the petitioner (the person who is seeking the OP), the judge may change the custody and visitation schedule. You may also be ordered to pay child support.
How the process works
There are three types of protective orders:
- First, the judge will issue an emergency order of protection (EOP). This is a temporary order that will last up to 21 days. Because it’s issued on an emergency basis, you won’t have the opportunity to respond or challenge it at this stage in the process. You will receive notice of the order and an upcoming hearing.
- An interim order of protection might be issued to extend the EOP until the time of the hearing. This doesn’t happen in every case, however. An interim order can last up to 30 days.
- A plenary order of protection is a final long-term order that can last for up to two years.
It’s important to know that you could face criminal charges for violating any of these orders.
Will the order go on my record?
An order of protection is a civil rather than criminal order, so it’s not a criminal record. However, it’s still a public record and can appear on background checks. Additionally, should you violate it, you may face criminal charges that will go on your record.
Why the hearing is so important
The protective order hearing is your one chance to defend yourself and challenge the order. If you don’t show up, the judge could issue a plenary order of protection that will impact you for a long time to come.
During the hearing, the judge will take testimony and evidence regarding the alleged grounds for the order. A criminal defense lawyer can help you present a strong case to avoid the long-term consequences of a protective order against you.