Protection orders are considered a crucial tool in the management of domestic violence and in the protection of victims. Illinois doesn’t have the best track record on serving them, and without service, they are worthless.
Illinois law states that a protection order must be served (given to the accused) in order for it to be effective. The argument is that without a proper service, the supposed aggressor had no way of knowing they were to stay away from the alleged victim.
According to the Tribune, Cook County exemplifies the rest of the state in that only about 20% of the protection orders issued by the courts are ever served.
These protection orders are most often issued in incidences of domestic violence. They are put in place to prevent further violence and to give victims a sense of security.
Without service, the restraining orders are useless. The police can serve a protection order at any time but tracking down the named aggressor isn’t always that easy. In addition, with police shortages and other things seeming to take priority, it seems the protection orders are not at the top of the “to do” list.
Victims advocate groups are calling for a change to this process as they worry what it would take for changes to happen otherwise.
While someone who hasn’t been served can’t be charged with violation of a protection order, others, who have been served can. If you are in violation of any term on a protection order, you can be immediately arrested and put in jail.
According to the law, judges are required to impose at least 24 hours in jail for your first violation of a protection order. Typically, that first offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
However, depending on the history of the case and your tendency towards violence with the victim, violation of a protection order can be considered a Class 4 felony charge, resulting in a potentially lengthy prison term.
If you have been served with a protection order and are now facing violation charges or if you are facing domestic violence charges, I may be able to help. Contact me today to discuss your case.