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Defending Against an Order of Protection in Illinois During Covid-19

Posted on in Order of Protection

Naperville Order of Protection LawyerMany Illinois courts (including Cook Count, DuPage County, Will County and others) have shut down services and re-scheduled court dates months down the road for most cases due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  There are exceptions to the shut down, and one such exception is Orders of Protection.

If you have been served with an Emergency Order of Protection, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney about your rights and the immediate next steps you need to take.  Although the coronavirus pandemic has led to many court closures, virtually all of them are still open for business to handle emergency matters, including orders of protection. They are making sure they have judges on hand to hear petitions for orders of protection, despite the general closure orders.

There are serious ramifications to having an order of protection against you. Your information (and the fact that there is an order of protection against you) will be placed in the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (L.E.A.D.S.), which is searchable by law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Illinois.  Orders of protection are filed with the court and are generally matters of public record. As such, having an order of protection against you may impact your employment or preclude you from certain future employment. 

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act governs orders of protection (750 ILCS 60/101 et seq.). Under the Act, if a judge finds that you have abused the petitioner or another named protected party, the judge can bar you from seeing your children. The judge can prohibit you from occupying your home, accessing your vehicles or other personal property, and bar you from possessing firearms. A judge issuing an order of protection can even require you to undergo counseling with a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.  If a judge enters a “plenary order of protection” those restrictions and requirements can last for up to 2 years. 

Time is of the essence if you have been served with an Emergency Order of Protection. There will be a new hearing date scheduled in a very short period of time at which point you will be expected to present a defense, including any evidence by way of witnesses, documents, text messages, emails, photographs, and the like. Issuing subpoenas to witnesses may be necessary. Laying the proper foundation for documents, photographs, and other evidence can be difficult for an unrepresented party. Sometimes much of your evidence is stored in your phone, and some courthouses won’t even allow you to bring your phone into the court without a special order from the judge.  Given the complexities involved in presenting a solid defense in an order of protection case, it is essential that you connect with an experienced attorney as soon as you can. 

The attorneys and legal professionals at Anderson & Associates, PC have decades of experience in representing both petitioners and respondents in order of protection proceedings. Contact us today at 630-653-9400 to speak with one of our attorneys and discuss your rights. 

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