Requirements for a Restraining Order in Illinois

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If you are seeking a restraining order in Illinois against another party, there are some points of law you need to know.

While it is relatively easy to get a restraining order – or "protective order," as they are known in Illinois – there are certain requirements a complainant must meet in order to be granted such an order.

Protections

Under Illinois law, only certain parties may file for a protective order, and only under certain circumstances.

Persons who may request a restraining order include individuals who have reached the age of majority and have been abused or harassed by a family or household member. A person also may file for an order of protection on behalf of a minor (17 years or younger), or on behalf of an adult who is elderly or otherwise infirm, and so is unable to request such an order.

Only certain protections may be sought as the result of an Illinois order of protection. These protections include: prohibition of abuse, exclusion from place of residence, prohibition from contact, the assignment of temporary custody of a dependent, and prohibition of the respondent to possess a firearm.

Complaints

All persons seeking an order of protection must file a formal criminal complaint with the Office of the Illinois State's Attorney. Such complaints may include a written complaint alleging criminal action (as filed or collected by local police), a formal indictment (as handed down by a criminal court), or a delinquency petition (as issued by a family court in the case of a minor or dependent disabled adult).

While many restraining orders are issued during the pretrial stages of criminal proceedings, many are also issued for post-conviction offenders on parole or probation. If you are the victim of a crime and would like an order of protection issued against a convicted offender, you may need to petition the sentencing court or releasing agency – such as the parole board – for the issuance of an order.

Exempted Information

All petitions for protective orders must be submitted as a written affidavit clearly outlining the alleged abuse or other offense, and must be attached to a criminal case in some stage of prosecution. There are certain provisions, though, under Illinois law regarding the privacy of victims.

If a petitioner is concerned or has reasonable apprehension to believe that disclosure of their address or the addresses of family members may present a security risk for themselves or those family members, they may omit such information in the filing of their petition and criminal complaints.

In such cases, an alternate address must be provided to the court being petitioned or law enforcement officer taking the complaint. The alternate is necessary so that the respondent may serve notice of motions (such as appeals to the grounds of the protection order).