Violation of an order of protection is actually a criminal offense. However, in order for a prosecutor to secure a conviction, he or she has to demonstrate three things:
- There was in fact a valid order in place that was legally issued by a judge
- The defendant had full knowledge of the order’s existence and terms
- The defendant intentionally violated the terms of the order
Remember, it’s the prosecutor’s job to prove your guilt; you don’t have to prove that you’re innocent in the American justice system.
That means your domestic violence defense attorney may be able to help you if the state has charged you with violating an order of protection.
You Were Unaware of the Order
In some instances, a judge may issue an emergency protective order against you without holding a hearing, in which case you, the defendant, are likely to be unaware of the order. In many cases, when a defendant finds out about an emergency protective order, it’s through a police officer or an officer of the court.
Your Actions Were Unintentional
Although you may be aware of a protection order against you and fully understand its terms, the prosecution must still prove that your actions were intentional.
For example, if you were ordered to remain 100 feet away from your spouse at all times, and you accidentally crossed paths at an unexpected location such as a restaurant or department store in an area where your spouse does not reside, you didn’t have the intent to see your spouse.
However, if the prosecutor can show that you intentionally sought out your spouse (even if, for example, your spouse requested a meeting), you could be convicted.
You Were Falsely Accused of Violating an Order of Protection
It’s a sad fact, but sometimes people lie. If the person who has an order of protection against you falsely accuses you of violating it, your domestic violence lawyer will do his or her job by making sure the prosecutor provides enough proof that what they’re saying is true.
The Consequences of Violating an Order of Protection
Violation of an order of protection in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor offense. It’s punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The court may also sentence you to probation, counseling and community service.
A second offense of violating an order of protection can be charged as a Class 4 felony offense, which carries between 1 and 3 years of imprisonment and a possible fine of $25,000. The court may sentence you to probation, as well.
If you’ve been accused of violating an order of protection in Chicago, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We’ll be happy to give you a free case evaluation and help formulate a plan to get the best possible outcome for your case.