A separation, divorce, or parental rights dispute can cause tensions to run high. An emotionally unstable spouse may become abusive when he or she is confronted with possible family changes. Some people choose to leave their spouse or seek full custody of their children precisely because their partner is abusive. Domestic violence is shockingly common in the United States. On average, 10 million men and women are victims of domestic violence each year, and about one in three women and one in four men will be victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are legal options for those who wish to protect themselves or their children from an abusive partner.
Orders of protection are intended to protect a person from threat of imminent harm. An emergency order of protection is easily acquired and does not require the person seeking the order of protection to give notice to his or her abuser. An emergency order is a short-term measure typically given to a victim by a judge for up to 21 days. This gives the victim time to request a longer-term protection order if necessary.
In Illinois, a plenary order of protection is different from an EPO because it is longer term. A plenary order can last for up to two years and can be renewed upon review when it expires. These protection orders can include various provisions but generally require the alleged abuser to stay away from the victim and/or their children or family.
Violating an Order of Protection Is a Crime
It is a crime to violate the terms of a valid order of protection. In Illinois, it is against the law to “commit an act which was prohibited by a court or fail to commit an act which was ordered by a court as a remedy in an order of protection” when you “have been served notice of the contents of the order or [have] acquired actual knowledge of the contents of the order.” Violating an order of protection is usually a Class A Misdemeanor offense which can be punished by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. In more extreme cases, violating an order of protection can be charged as a Class 4 Felony. A conviction for felony violation can be punished by fines of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for 1 to 3 years. Subsequent violations of a protection order result in more severe criminal charges. Additionally, a person who violates an order of protection may be charged with contempt of court.
Violating an Order of Protection Can Affect Parental Rights
A judge presiding over a parental responsibilities dispute will almost always presume that it would not be in the child’s best interest to place him or her in the care of an abusive parent. If there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that allegations of abuse are true, the abusive parent’s parenting time or visitation can be severely limited or require supervision.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or your spouse has violated an order of protection, a St. Charles family law attorney can help. We will assist you in petitioning the court for an order of protection and securing safety for yourself and children. Call 630-377-7770 for a free confidential consultation today at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C.