This is the next post in my series discussing defending against harassment or stalking charges in Peoria, Illinois. My last article discussed the legal definitions of stalking and harassment as well as the penalties that may apply if one is convicted. It is important to understand that each of these offenses can result in incarceration, fines, and permanent criminal records. Those convicted of felony charges may lose other liberties, such as the right to possess firearms or vote. It is crucial that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been accused of stalking or harassment. In this article, I will discuss a common issue that arises in these types of cases – how to respond after being served with an order of protection or stalking no contact order. Contact my office today to speak with a Peoria lawyer.
Individuals accused of stalking or harassment may find themselves the subject of an order of protection (when the alleged offense involves a family member) or of a “no contact” order issued by an Illinois court. Such orders are issued either at the request of an alleged victim or may be issued after an individual has been arrested on such charges. Protective orders may be issued on an emergency basis, without a hearing, for the safety of the victim. The accused person may be strictly prohibited from contacting, approaching, or in any way bothering the protected party. They will be required to stay a certain distance away from the victim’s home, place of work, and other places that the victim is known to frequent. An order of protection can temporarily force the accused out of their home, keep them away from their children, and prohibit their possession of firearms. The alleged offender will also be prohibited from circumventing the purpose of the protective order by initiating contact with the victim through third parties. All too often, people accused of harassment or stalking do not realize how serious a protective order can be and fail to engage counsel in time to contest the allegations in court. This is a serious mistake. If you or someone you care about receives notice that a protective order has been filed and set for hearing, calling an experienced lawyer immediately is critical.
If a protective order has been issued against you then it is vital that you follow the terms of the order. Violating an order will result in additional criminal charges. This is true even if the order is based on false allegations. It is also important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to request a hearing if one has not been scheduled and work to quickly resolve the matter on your behalf. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you with gathering and presenting evidence in your defense. Your lawyer can, for example, present evidence that refutes the accusing party’s claims and defends your behavior. Such evidence may include items such as phone records, witness statements, emails, text messages, or social media posts. Furthermore, if you are involved in a custody or divorce battle then an outstanding order of protection against you may negatively impact the outcome of such cases. For these reasons, I cannot overemphasize the importance of defending oneself against any accusations giving rise a protective order.
If you have been charged with harassment or stalking, and need assistance with a protective order, then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria criminal defense lawyer. We also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.