If you have been served an order of protection, you are probably worried, and maybe scared. You should be. If you are subject to an Illinois order of protection there can be serious consequences to your personal and professional lives. This is an FAQ on what to do if you have been served with an order or protection.
Can they do that to me?
You might have been serve an Illinois order of protection, and wonder, “Can they do that to me?” The answer: Yes.
Orders of protection are pursuant to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (the “IDVA”, 750 ILCS 60/101 et seq). The powers of the court are wide-ranging. So if you think the court has done something that is not right, frankly, that doesn’t matter. If that court has done something, that means they can do it – and now you have to defend yourself.
What if I wasn’t even in court?
In Illinois, a person can get an emergency order of protection on an ex parte basis – that means the accuser (the “Accuser”) can get an emergency order of protection without providing any notice of a court date to the accused person (the “Accused”). According to Section 217 of the IDVA (750 ILCS 60/217) the Accuser has to satisfy certain requirements when alleging that a matter is an emergency – or the emergency order of protection (the “EOP”) should be denied.
However, as you might imagine, many accusers are liars. They run into court, make up some scary-sounding facts, and get an EOP. Long story short, they claim they are in imminent danger of physical or emotion abuse, and the court grants the EOP. Regardless of what the statue says, in real-life it is extremely easy to get an EOP. Because only the Accuser is in court, if the Accuser does a good job lying, the court will grant the EOP. Therefore, people in divorce enjoy lying to get EOPs to get a leg-up in their divorce.
What if I get served with an Emergency Order of Protection?
If you have been served with an emergency order of protection in Illinois, then you need a lawyer – immediately. You may think your case is so obvious that you don’t need a lawyer. But you’d be wrong.
There are certain procedures in a court case, and if those procedures are not followed, you will have a very hard time prevailing. Further, good lawyers have certain skills that most other people either don’t have, or don’t practice on a regular basis. For example, a good lawyer will be skilled at cross examining witnesses and leading people to trap themselves in lies and absurd claims. If you lack this skill, then you will likely not be able to properly question the Accuser.
When is my day in court?
If you get served with an emergency order of protection, the court is supposed to set a hearing date within 21 days of the issuance of the EOP. So there should be such a date on the order served to you. You might be anxious to get into court to try to prove you are innocent of the accusations made against you. That’s understandable. However, there are a couple things you should know.
Per section 224 of the IDVA (750 ILCS 60/224), you don’t have to wait until the date on the order to get your hearing. Section 224 states that you are entitled to a hearing “upon 2 days’ notice.” In other words, you can get a hearing only a couple days after being served, rather than waiting 21 days.
But there are some reasons you may not want to rush. The reasons include, but are not limited to the following:
- It can take time to find the right lawyer
- A lawyer will need to be available for the hearing
- The lawyer will need to speak with you to get all the facts
- The lawyer will need time to gather evidence and prepare for the hearing
If you rush into court, your case will be hurt. It might not feel good to have an Illinois Order of Protection against you, but it will feel worse if you loose. If you rush into court, your chances of losing increase significantly.
How do I find an order of protection lawyer?
If you are reading this article, you’ve already found one. And I rarely lose.
That’s because I don’t rush into court and conduct a hearing for which I am ill-prepared. I gather evidence, put together a timeline, and interview my clients. Many times I prove that the Accuser is a liar.
I wrote a bit more about order of protection defense in this article.
It can be hard to find a lawyer that will take an order of protection case. Many Illinois divorce lawyers do not want to handle an order of protection case simple because of the stress and critical nature of such a case.
But I am an Illinois order of protection, and I might be able to take your case. If you want to win, you need to be prepared, and take it seriously.