It is becoming a very common occurrence in our society that an individual feels so threatened by another individual that the only way they can move forward is to petition the court for an Order of Protection (OP). Sometimes called a restraining order; an OP can be a very serious imposition on someone's life and should not be taken lightly.
There are two ways that an Order of Protection can be obtained in the State of Illinois. One is through the criminal courts in conjunction with a criminal charge, usually a domestic battery or other criminal offense involving two people who are related, had a dating relationship or used to live together. The second way to obtain an OP is to file for one at the courthouse in the civil courts. Currently most OPs and domestic violence cases are handled at the 555 W. Harrison St. courthouse in Chicago.
The person seeking an OP initially completes a petition in which they must allege a history of abuse by the person against whom they are seeking the OP; this person is called the Respondent. The initial petition is entered ex-parte, meaning that only the petitioning party is present in court. The OP is then valid for two weeks while the sheriff tries to serve the other party with notice of the OP and the legal proceedings. If the respondent does not come to court after being served, then a default two-year OP is entered against that person.
If the respondent does come to court, he or she is entitled to a hearing in front of a judge to determine if the allegations in the petition are true. Is there a history of abuse by the respondent? Is the petitioner fearful for his or her safety? At an OP hearing evidence is presented by both sides. The respondent has the right to cross examine the Petitioner to test the veracity of his or her allegations. The Court then determines if, by a preponderance of the evidence, the allegations in the Petition are true. If the Judge determines that the petitioner has met his or her burden then an OP is entered against the respondent for two years.
The effect that an OP can have on a respondent is extremely serious. Once an OP is entered the Petitioner has a weapon that he or she can wield to exact whatever revenge the petitioner thinks the respondent deserves. If the petitioner and respondent have a child in common the respondent must be especially careful. Every pick up, drop off or visitation can become an opportunity to go to jail. The respondent violates an order of protection, depending on the terms of the OP, by making any contact with the petitioner at all; or going to their home, or work, or just coming close to them somewhere in the street.
Order of Protection Attorney in Chicago
Albukerk & Associates can help you defend against an Order of Protection. An attorney will examine everything in your case from service of process to the facts of the case. If service was not properly made on you, your case may be dismissed. If the facts of your case are favorable to you, we may be able to convince a judge that an OP or permanent restraining order is not necessary. If an OP is entered against you, it must be tailored to reflect any special circumstances – a child, shared ownership of property, etc. Albukerk & Associates is competent and experienced counsel that will help you get through this difficult time.
Contact an Order of Protection Lawyer today about your case. You can reach us by telephone at 773-234-8923 and you will be speaking with a real attorney in moments.