In Illinois, someone who feels threatened by another person or fears for their safety has the option to obtain a civil remedy for abuse via “no-contact order,” also referred to as a restraining order. When this order is served and imposed, a defendant must essentially avoid contacting the accuser as the name of the order implies. It is a crime to violate this order. If you do, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of your case.
The violation of a no-contact order is taken incredibly seriously by prosecutors in Illinois. If you are the subject of a no-contact order and have been accused of violating it, contact Dolci & Weiland for help to fight any criminal charges. It's imperative you understand the new limitations placed on your life and the full gravity of what it means to violate this order.
Our legal team is comprised of advocates who are dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused while fiercely defending their charges. We have a strong belief that the first steps towards a successful outcome are to answer all of your questions, be accessible when you need us, and provide you with clear and realistic options to ensure you have a solid defense.
Violating a No-Contact Order in Illinois
According to Illinois (740 ILCS 21/5), It is unlawful to violate, or not comply with a no-contact order. Doing so is considered “contempt of court.” Although a no-contact order must be composed in a manner that that makes it possible for people to comply with its terms, there are numerous ways you can still violate these conditions. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Directly or indirectly contacting the person in any capacity (in person, by phone or text, email, social media, through another person, or even by mail)
- Refusing to move out of a residence where you live with the protected person
- Failing to stay away from the protected person's place of employment (even if you work at the same place)
- Failure to comply with court-ordered child visitation rules
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support
- Threatening a protected person with physical abuse
In order to convict you of violating a no-contact order, or contempt of court, the prosecution must be able to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The no-contact order of which you are accused of violating is legal
- You had knowledge of the no-contact order
- You intentionally violated the terms and conditions of the no-contact order
Penalties for Violating a No-Contact Order
Violating a no-contact order is generally a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. A conviction carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Some defendants may be ordered to pay victim restitution, attending counseling, and relinquish any personal firearms.
As aforementioned, this crime can also be charged as a Class 4 felony. A felony conviction typically occurs when it is a second offense and/or a victim sustains a physical injury due to the violation. This is punishable by 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $25,000.
There are consequences imposed outside of the criminal justice system that you may experience if convicted due to the stigma of this crime. This phenomenon is known as “collateral consequences,” and are carried out by society during post-conviction life. Any conviction on your record creates a criminal record, which can be detrimental to many aspects of your life. With a criminal record, your opportunities to find decent housing, gain employment, further your education and even apply for government resources become severely limited unless you get the conviction expunged. The most effective way of avoiding all this trouble is to fight the conviction.
Potential Defenses for Violating a No-Contact Order
Serious crimes like violating a no-contact order definitely require the assistance of a legal professional. An Illinois criminal defense attorney is equipped with the experience and expertise to use certain defenses for purposes of reducing your sentence. In some circumstances, a defense can be so convincing that it leads to the dismissal of your charges altogether. Some defenses that are commonly applied in these cases are:
You didn't intend to violate the no-contact order. This defense is used when it can be proven that a defendant is completely unaware that a no-contact order has been issued and didn't intend to contact the accuser. Perhaps you coincidentally see your accuser in a public place after the order has been issued but it hasn't been served yet. In this case, you didn't purposely make an effort to see your accuser. You can't be convicted for violating an order you didn't intentionally try to violate.
You didn't have any knowledge of the no-contact order. To be convicted of a no-contact violation, the prosecution must prove that you had knowledge of the order. If you attended any hearings pertaining to the order, you are automatically knowledgeable of the order in the eyes of the courts, otherwise, you can't be convicted for violating it.
You have been falsely accused of violating the no-contact order. This defense can be claimed when an accuser accuses you of attempting to contact them when you didn't. They may also coax you into violating the order by initiating contact or setting up a meeting with you.
Have You Been Arrested in Illinois? You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you've been charged with violating a no-contact order in Illinois, you may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The good news is that you don't have to fight this legal battle on your own with Dolci & Weiland in your corner. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing you with a quality defense.
Don't let one bad decision affect your future - contact a legal representative at Dolci & Weiland today. Complete a case evaluation form or feel free to call the office nearest you for further assistance. For our downtown Chicago office, call 312-238-9007, and for our DuPage location, call 630-261-9098.