What’s the Difference Between a Civil Order of Protection and a Criminal Order of Protection?

Violation-of-an-Order-of-ProtectionThe main difference between a Civil Order of Protection and a Criminal Order of Protection has to do with how the person who is seeking the Order of Protection goes about getting the Order of Protection entered, or issued.  An Order of Protection is a court order which bars someone from having at least some contact with another person.  The typical Order of Protection forbids a person from being anywhere near another person or forbids them from being at a certain location or attempting to make any contact whatsoever with the other person.  It’s really the only way that the legal system can offer protection from bodily harm from another person.  It’s a piece of paper that has no power in and of itself to prevent anything from happening.  The only thing that the Order of Protection does is allow the police to arrest someone if they are found to be in Violation of the Order of Protection.

Let’s first talk about a Civil Order of Protection. The process for obtaining a Civil Order of Protection is usually started by the person who is seeking to be protected themselves.  They file a Petition with the court requesting that a Civil Order of Protection be entered.  The initial order can be entered without the person against whom the Order of Protection is sought to be entered without even having been served with the petition.  When the Court is presented with the Petition, the court will review it to see if there’s a basis for an order being entered.  The Court may question the person seeking the Order of Protection, known as the Petitioner, and if the Court is satisfied that there’s good cause for the entry of an Order of Protection, the Court will enter an Emergency Order of Protection that will only be good for 14 days.  The Court will set a Court date and the Petitioner will have to serve the Respondent, the person who the Petitioner is seeking to be protected from, with a copy of the Emergency Order of Protection.  At the next Court date a hearing will be held for the judge to determine whether a permanent Order of Protection should be entered.

Now let’s talk about a Criminal Order of Protection.  A Criminal Order of Protection arises out of a criminal case.  The party asking for the entry of an Order of Protection is usually the prosecutor in the criminal case.  Most Criminal Orders of Protection arise out of a Domestic Battery case.  But I have seen them in Stalking and Harassment cases.  What typically happens is that at the first court date, usually the Bond Hearing, the prosecutor will ask the judge to enter a Temporary Order of Protection forbidding the defendant from being anywhere near the victim and from having any contact with the victim.

The Temporary Order of Protection is continued for a hearing to the first Court date for the Domestic Battery, or other criminal case.  At that first Court date, the criminal case will officially begin and the Court will decide whether to enter a Permanent Order of Protection.  The Court may hold a hearing and may decide at the first Court date.   If the Court agrees to enter an Order of Protection, that Order of Protection will be referred to as a Plenary Order of Protection.  The Plenary Order of Protection will be in effect until the criminal case ends.

If you violate an Order of Protection, you will be charged with a crime.  It doesn’t matter if it was a Civil Order of Protection or a Criminal Order of Protection.  Violation of an Order of Protection is a crime in Illinois.  It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in County Jail and a fine up to $2,500.  If you have previously been convicted of certain violent crimes, you could be looking at a class 4 felony which carries a potential jail sentence of between 1 to 3 years.

If you are charged with Violating a Criminal Order of Protection, you could also be in violation of your Bail Bond.  If you are facing a Domestic Battery and you are out on Bond and you violate a Criminal Order of Protection, you have committed a crime which is a violation of the main condition of your Bail Bond.  That condition being that you cannot violate any laws while you are out on Bond.

Chicago Violation of Order of Protection criminal lawyer, James G. Dimeas has been handling Violation of Order of Protection cases throughout Cook County, DuPage County and Kane County for 25 years.  If you have a Violation of Order of Protection case in Cook County, DuPage County or Kane County, contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation.  You can talk to James Dimeas anytime at 847-807-7405.  He can help.

Additional Resources:

Violation of an Order of Protection, 720 ILCS 5/12-30.

Domestic Battery, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2.