You’ve just received notice that your significant other or spouse has filed for an order of protection against you. The petitioner claims you have harassed him or her.

What exactly does that mean? What can you do to defend yourself?

Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, “harassment” is defined as “knowing conduct which is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances; would cause a reasonable person emotional distress; and does cause emotional distress to the petitioner.”

Under the statute, the following conduct is presumed to cause emotional distress:

(i) creating a disturbance at petitioner’s place of employment or school;

(ii) repeatedly telephoning petitioner’s place of employment or residence;

(iii) repeatedly following petitioner about in public;

(iv) repeatedly keeping petitioner under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her home, school, place of employment, vehicle or other place occupied by petitioner or by peering in petitioner’s windows;

(v) improperly concealing or removing petitioner’s minor child from petitioner’s care or the jurisdiction or repeatedly threatening to do so unless you were fleeing the threat of domestic violence;

(vi) threatening physical force, confinement or restraint.

If you are served with notice of an order of protection, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps there were legitimate reasons for your repeated contact with the other party. For example, you might have driven by their home because it was directly on your way to work. If you have been falsely accused, you might convince a judge that there are issues with the credibility of the person accusing you.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related blog posts here and here.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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