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In Illinois, you can obtain an Order of Protection from the court to protect you from family members or those with whom you've had a romantic relationship or lived with who have made threats of violence against you.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60) does not protect you from threats of violence from co-workers, from friends or even complete strangers who may have made such threats.
However, in 2010, Illinois enacted a new law called the Stalking and No Contact Order Act (740 ILCS 21). The newer law provides that even if there was no romantic or family relationship but there were threats made that reach the level of stalking, you can obtain a no contact order from the court.
"Stalking" means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and he or she knows or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person or suffer emotional distress (740 ILCS 21/10).
Stalking behavior includes following a person, conducting surveillance of a person, a conducting surveillance of a person's home, work or school, making unwanted phone calls, sending unwanted e-mails or text messages, leaving objects for the person, vandalizing the person's property, or injuring a pet.
State legislators changed the law because these the Domestic Violence Act did nothing to protect people who are the victims of stalking. For instance, a person who is the victim of stalking may not qualify as a family or household member.
Under 740 ILCS 21/1, a stalking and/or no contact order just like an order of protection, means the person seeking a restraining order has to file a petition in court. This person, the petitioner, seeks a restraining order against a person called the respondent. The petitioner seeking the stalking no contact order will be heard by a judge who decides whether to grant a Court Order. There is no filing cost or fee.
If the judge decides there is enough evidence to issue the emergency order, a deputy from the sheriff's department will serve the respondent with the order. The emergency order will last from 14 to 21 days. Any contact between respondent and the petitioner during this time would be a crime by respondent.
The petitioner can ask the judge for all or any of the following things:
After the hearing, if the judge determines that it is proper to enter an order to protect petitioner, the court will enter a plenary order prohibiting the respondent from committing or threatening stalking. A plenary order prohibiting stalking and contact by the respondent can last for up to two years. If the respondent makes contact with the petitioner in violation of this order, including through a third-party, the respondent can be prosecuted.
If you are in need advice on a no contact order or restraining order, call the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 or stop in the Hinsdale office at 15 North Lincoln Street.