Illinois law offers legal protection from domestic violence. Domestic violence is abuse committed by a family member or a member of the victim’s household. Illinois law broadly defines household to include, among others, people who previously dated, former spouses, and people who have a child together. The conduct that may constitute abuse includes physical force, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty, and willful deprivation. Physical abuse includes confinement, restraint, sexual abuse, and reckless conduct which creates an immediate risk of physical harm. Interference with personal liberty is the use of physical force or threats of force to coerce or control someone.
Orders of Protection
A victim of domestic violence may petition an Illinois court for an order of protection. There are three categories of orders of protection. The categories of orders have different notice requirements and remain in effect for different durations.
Emergency Orders of Protection
The first type of protective order that most victims obtain is an emergency order of protection. This is because emergency orders of protection do not require that the alleged abuser be served with notice of the petition. Illinois law does not require notice because the risk of harm would be increased if an abuser was served with advanced notice. Thus, the alleged abuser, referred to as the respondent, is usually unaware of the emergency petition. The petitioner may appear before a judge without the respondent. And, if petitioner’s allegations warrant, the court may immediately issue the emergency order of protection. The Sheriff, law enforcement or a special process server shall promptly serve the respondent with the order. Emergency orders of protection are in effect for 14 to 21 days.
Interim Orders of Protection
The second category of orders of protection that is available is called an interim order. Interim orders of protection are in effect for up to 30 days. For interim orders, Illinois domestic violence law requires that law enforcement or a special process server serve the respondent with notice or that petitioner is diligently attempting to complete the service of process.
Plenary Orders of Protection
The third category of orders of protection is referred to as plenary. To obtain a plenary order, petitioner needs to serve notice of the hearing on respondent. Further, respondent needs to have made or filed a general appearance or respondent has answered or is in default. Plenary orders of protection may remain in effect for up to two years.
If certain requirements are met, petitioners may upgrade an emergency order of protection to an interim or plenary order. Likewise, petitioners may upgrade an interim order to a plenary order.
Additional information regarding orders of protection is contained within the Illinois Domestic Violence Act.