• If you are served with an Order of Protection (OP) in Illinois, you should get an attorney, act fast and show up at court appearances. Under Illinois law, an OP is available only between parties who have a family or household relationship, i.e. marriage, dating, blood relation, roommates. The order may be part of a criminal case or civil proceeding.

    Types of OP

    An emergency OP (EOP) good for 21 days. A plenary OP (POP) good for up to two years.

    EOP Hearing

    At an EOP hearing, the fearful party (petitioner) may appear alone before a judge and present facts demonstrating need for protection. This hearing may be held without the presence or knowledge of the respondent if the petitioner can show she would be in additional danger if the respondent knew.

    Action Needed

    If an EOP is entered against you, a sheriff will serve you with a copy, plus notice of a hearing to be held within 21 days. If you act fast, an attorney may be able to file an emergency motion to vacate the EOP within 48 hours. At that hearing, you present your side and, if the judge agrees with you, the OP process stops there.

    Next Step

    If you miss that 48-hour window, be sure to show up for the full (plenary) hearing. At that time, you have three options: Agree to the OP and admit the allegations, agree to the OP without admitting the allegations, or contest everything and have a hearing.

    Plenary Hearing

    At this hearing, you will be able to present evidence, call witnesses and cross examine witnesses for the other side. However, if the OP came out of a criminal case, do not testify yourself. Your testimony can be used against you at the criminal hearing.

    Another Course

    If you are likely to lose at the OP hearing, the second option--you agree to the OP but not the allegations--may be the best course. It is also a good choice if you simply do not care if the petitioner gets the OP.

    Effects of OP

    An OP on your record can have long-term effects. You may be unable to occupy your residence and could lose your job. You likely will not to be able to possess a gun for two years. If you are involved in a traffic stop and the police "run you," that OP will be the first thing they see on your record. They may be less cordial because that OP says to them that you are a bad guy.

    Last Word

    Lastly, if the person with the OP calls and invites you over to talk about things, don't go. You will be violating the order, even if he called you. If there is a change of heart, her lawyer should call your lawyer.


    725 ILCS 5/111-8-criminal

    750 ILCS 60/101 et al -civil

    Illinois State's Attorney

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