Written by attorney W. Scott Hanken

Illinois - Quick Tips on How to Defend against an Order of Protection

A protective order is a civil order that severely restricts or prevents a defendant or defendants from having contact with a plaintiff. Protective orders typically are filed when there is a threat or act of domestic violence. Having a protective order filed against you can have serious consequences, such as court-ordered counseling (and mandatory fees), forfeiture of the right to possess firearms and prosecution for contempt of court and/or violating a protective order.


Typically, a victim of domestic violence files for a temporary restraining order or Order of Protection(OP). The hearing for a temporary restraining order or OPis an "ex parte" or "Emergency" proceeding where only the plaintiff is present. Obviously, since the Judge only hears "one" side of the story an Emergency Order of Protection is usually always allowed. If a judge grants a temporary restraining order or Emergency OP, there is a subsequent hearing within 10 days of the defendant's receiving service of process where it is determined whether the restraining order or OP should be continued indefinitely. At this hearing, the defendant is able to present evidence and witnesses.

Once a defendant receives service of a temporary restraining order or Emergency OP, he or she must abide by it. Even if the order were to be obtained by false testimony, violating the temporary restraining order or Emergency OP may result in prosecution for contempt of court or violation of an Order of Protection, a Class A Misdemeanor punishible by a maximum 364 days incarceration and or up to $2,500 in fines and would likely result in a more permanent restraining order or Plenary OP being enacted.

In order to obtain a temporary restraining orderor Emergency OP a plaintiff must be able to demonstrate specific illegal conduct by a defendant. The temporary restraining order or Emergency OP will likely list specific instances of illegal conduct. These will ultimately be the same "facts" which will be presented at any hearing for a Plenary Order. Find witnesses that were present when the alleged incident took place and pick someone who could testify that no threatening conduct occurred. Physical evidence, such as receipts or phone records, may also help contradict the plaintiff's assertion that he or she was threatened. You may subpoena any records you deem necessary and compell the attendance of any necessary or material witnesses.

Typically, a hearing for a permanent or Plenary restraining order will be assigned to a large court docket that can take all day to get through. Arrange transportation for your witnesses and be sure that they will be present in court on the day of the hearing. Bring any physical evidence with you to court. The Judge will typically handle cases in which the Defendant or Repondent fails to appear and grant those requests. Next the Judge will address those cases in which there is no objection to the entry of the Order. Finally, contested matters will be referred to a Judge for hearing.

A judge will decide on whether to enact a permanent or plenary restraining order, particularly when there is no law enforcement investigation. Wear a suit or busines appropriate clothing to court. Be deferential to the judge and do not interrupt him or other witnesses while they are talking, even if you believe that their statements are incorrect or that they are lying. Your demeanor will carry a great deal of weight with the Judge in determining the credibility of your testimony in light of all the other evidence.

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