The Difference between an “Order of Protection” and a “Stalking No Contact Order”

The Difference between an “Order of Protection” and a “Stalking No Contact Order”
There are two types of orders that Illinois courts use to prevent people from engaging in unwanted contact. The first is an Order of Protection. The second is a Stalking No Contact Order. The latter was passed into law several years ago to protect individuals who are in danger of stalking and harassing behavior but are unable to qualify for an Order of Protection due to the absence of a domestic relationship.

Domestic Relationship

The statute that governs Orders of Protection, Illinois Statute 740 ILCS 21, defines the type of domestic relationship required for an Order of Protection. In addition to family members, it includes people who are dating or have dated in the past as well as people who live together or have lived together regardless of a family or dating relationship.

Qualifying Acts for a Stalking No Contact Order

As previously mentioned, a Stalking No Contact Order does not require the same type of relationship as an Order of Protection. Rather, the person attempting to obtain the order must present evidence of unwanted contact, such as stalking, harassment or unwanted phone calls.

Typically, at least three specific stalking or harassment events are listed on the petition. The person desiring protection must also inform the alleged perpetrator to avoid contacting them and to cease from acting in a manner that would be considered stalking or harassment. However, that may only be possible when the victim knows the alleged perpetrator.

Available Protections

The protections contained within the Stalking No Contact Order are similar to those in the Order of Protection. Either type of order may provide the following protections:

• No contact with the petitioner
• No contact within a certain distance of the petitioner’s home, school or work place
• No contact with the petitioner through email, phone, text messages or social media
• No harassment or stalking of the petitioner
• No interference with the petitioner or the petitioner’s personal property or pets
• No unlawful contact with the petitioner by any means
• No possession of a firearm

Order Similarities

There are several similarities between an Order of Protection and a Stalking No Contact Order. Although both are heard by a judge in civil court, they are classified as “quasi-criminal” because any violation may result in criminal consequences. In cases where there are pending charges of domestic battery, though, the case may be heard by a criminal judge. Additionally, when a divorce is pending or there are child custody issues to be resolved, the protection order may be transferred to the judge handling those issues.

Serious Consequences

The orders described in this article have life-changing consequences. If a petitioner is unable to obtain an order, the alleged perpetrator may escalate harassment behaviors. On the other hand, if an alleged perpetrator violates an order, that person could go to jail. Anyone considering lodging a petition or defending against a petition will most likely need the services of an attorney with experience in that area