Violations of Orders of Protection
Violations of an order of protection are addressed by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. A person subject to an order of protection is in violation of that court order if they do not perform tasks required of them by the order or engage in any conduct that is prohibited by the order. In addition, if the person subject to the order of protection commits any crime covered in Section 112A-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 against the parties covered by the order, this is also treated as a violation of the order of protection.
Even if the defendant does not violate the order of protection on his own, he can be convicted of violating the order if he uses a third party to engage in prohibited conduct.
In order for the person to have violated an order of protection, the court must have provided prior notice of the order. The defendant is entitled to an opportunity to be heard in court to defend himself against a petition for an order of protection. If the person subject to the order can show that adequate notice was not provided, then this is a complete defense to any allegations of violations of the order of protection.
What are the Consequences for Violations of Orders of Protection?
The consequences for being convicted of a violation of an order of protection are set forth in Section 12-3.4 of 720 ILCS 5. Any violation of an order of protection is classified as a Class A misdemeanor under Illinois law. However, if the defendant has any prior conviction for a domestic battery offense or has been convicted of a previous violation of an order of protection, the offense is classified as a Class 4 felony. In addition, if the defendant has previous convictions for crimes of violence that involved any victims within his household or covered by the order of protection, the offense will be treated as a Class 4 felony.
A defendant’s first violation of an order of protection may not result in him immediately serving jail time. However, after the second violation of an order of protection, the defendant will serve a minimum of 24 hours in jail for each subsequent violation. The judge may reduce this sentence in extreme circumstances, but there is also the possibility that the defendant will have to serve a much longer jail sentence. The severity of these potential penalties depends on the nature of the violation and the defendant’s criminal history concerning domestic violence or crimes against the covered parties. The court may also order the defendant to pay a fine in the form of restitution to the victim or covered parties under the order in addition to serving jail time. The defendant will have to pay court costs upon conviction of a violation and will be assessed additional costs and fines for each subsequent violation of an order of protection.