An order of protection (OP) is a type of restraining order in Illinois. It’s issued in domestic violence situations involving romantic partners, co-parents, former romantic partners, family members or household members.
Criminal charges for violating an order of protection
If you get caught violating the terms of a protection order against you, the consequences can be serious. You could get charged with a Class A misdemeanor (the most severe class of misdemeanor in Illinois). A conviction could result in jail time of up to 364 days. A second offense for violating an OP is a felony.
Potential defenses to the charges
As with any other criminal charge, you should never assume that the prosecution has a watertight case. You may have grounds for a strong defense. Examples of potential defenses to alleged OP violations include:
- Lack of knowledge or intent: To secure a conviction for violating an OP, the prosecution must prove that you knew about the OP and that you intentionally violated it.
- Alibi: Another angle is to challenge the allegation that you were in a prohibited place. If you have evidence that you were somewhere else, that can go a long way toward avoiding a conviction.
- Entrapment: If the person protected by the OP or law enforcement entrapped you – for example, by setting you up or luring you in – that can be grounds for fighting the charges.
- Burden of proof: The prosecution has to prove that you violated the terms of the OP beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard that requires compelling evidence on their part.
These are just a few of the many potential defenses you may have. Given the harsh potential consequences of a conviction, it’s important to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney to build a strong case based on your specific circumstances.