Orders of protection involve two people who are related in some way. The relationships between the parties include either family, dating, fiancees marriage or even roommates. For information about these types of cases for a person who does not fit into one of these relationships, refer to the Stalking and No Contact Orders page included in this website. In an order of protection case, the first party is called the Petitioner. The Petitioner is the person who files for the order of protection against another with whom they have one of the above referenced relationships. The second person is called the Respondent. The Respondent is the person a Petitioner is accusing of harassing, intimidating or abusing them. These accusations don't have to be physical, but can be emotional and even financial. For an order of protection to be issued, the Petitioner must state a claim against the Respondent that harm will befall them if it is not granted by a judge.
These types of orders, if granted, can forbid a Respondent from not only communicating with the Petitioner, but also will prevent them from going within a certain distance of the Petitioner's home, work and school. These orders can even cover children in certain circumstances. This can prevent a person such as a father, mother or grandparent from having the ability to communicate with their children or grandchildren. Additionally, a Respondent can be prevented from having another person communicate for them with the Petitioner. This is called a 3rd party communication.
If either the Petitioner or Respondent doesn't appear or hire an attorney to appear for them in court for this type of case, a judgement will be issued in favor of the party who does appear. This means, a Petitioner could have a case dismissed against the Respondent if the Petitioner doesn’t appear but the Respondent does; or the Respondent could have a default judgment against them if just the Petitioner appears. A default judgement means the court grants the order of protection against the Respondent for not appearing. Default judgments can be set aside and the case reinstated, as if the default judgement never happened. However, the Respondent must file a motion to set aside the default judgment within 30 days after it is entered against them and certain criteria must be met by the Respondent in filing this type of motion. Additionally, these cases can be taken to trial. Trials require both the Respondent and Petitioner to know the rules of evidence and civil procedure. If witnesses are required to testify on your behalf, subpoenas must be filed. If introducing evidence is necessary, such as introducing at trial photos, text messages, emails, voicemails or videos, an experienced attorney like Travis Strobach is invaluable to have on your side.
If these orders are granted by a judge, the Respondent is subject to criminal charges for violating them from a class A misdemeanor to a felony (please refer to the sentencing guidelines for the state you are charged in this websites site map). In Illinois and Missouri there are collateral consequences in having these orders granted against a Respondent, regardless of whether they are charged with a criminal offense or not. Some of the consequences include the loss of being able to possess a firearm.