How to File for a Stalking No-Contact Order in Illinois

Anyone who has ever received unwanted attention from another person knows how unsettling it can be. When someone incessantly follows you around, calls or texts your phone, and messes with your relationships, the situation can turn downright terrifying.

Actions like these amount to a behavior called stalking, which is a violation of Illinois law. To try to prevent the behavior from continuing, victims of stalking can use a legal tool called a Stalking No Contact Order. This court order instructs the perpetrator of the stalking to cease his or her behavior and stay away from the victim.

Obtaining a legal Stalking / No-Contact Order involves filing a Petition with the court and having the terms you request be ordered by a Judge. While a court order cannot completely prevent a person from stalking you, it does provide you with more power to protect yourself.

What is stalking?

Whether it’s a former partner, someone with a grudge, or a total stranger, stalkers can seriously impact their victims’ lives and safety. Stalking behavior isn’t a single act, but multiple actions that create what the law calls a “code of conduct.”

Common stalking behaviors include:

  • Sitting outside a person’s house
  • Repeatedly driving past a person’s house
  • Following a person as they move about their daily activities
  • Conducting surveillance of a person, such as taking photos or videos
  • Unwanted visits to a person’s home, workplace, school, known socializing locations, friends’ or family members’ homes
  • Making unwanted phone calls
  • Sending unwanted messages via email, social media or text
  • Leaving unwanted objects for a person
  • Vandalizing a person’s home
  • Injuring a person’s pet

Illinois law calls stalking a “serious crime,” one that can have real-life impacts on its victims. Stalking behaviors make victims fearful for the safety of themselves and their families. In some instances, victims of stalking are forced to change their daily routines, quit their jobs, and even relocate their homes.

How is a no-contact order different from an order of protection?

A no-contact order differs from an order of protection, a legal tool with which many people may be more familiar. An order of protection is a court order that protects a person from someone with whom they’ve had a domestic relationship, such as a spouse, ex-spouse, or any other person they currently or used to live with.

The situation might include physical abuse, along with some of the same aspects as stalking, but within the context of an existing relationship between the two parties.

By contrast, no contact orders don’t require that the two parties know one another or have a relationship. A no-contact order might be filed against people such as a stranger, a co-worker, a former friend, or the ex-partner of a person’s current partner.

How to apply for a Stalking No Contact Order 

The state of Illinois passed the Stalking No Contact Order Act (740 ILCS 21) to create a legal mechanism for stalking victims to help protect themselves. A Stalking No Contact Order isn’t automatic but must be enacted by a judge who evaluates the case.

The person requesting a Stalking No Contact Order from the court is called the petitioner. The person against whom the request is filed is called the respondent. The petitioner can request a Stalking No Contact Order from the county court where they reside, or the home county of the respondent.

Senate Bill 03667 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, the Stalking No Contact Order Act, the Civil No Contact Order Act, and the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 to allow victims who are seeking a protective order to now be able to file the request online.  While there are some caveats, including the ability to file online only in counties in Illinois that have over 250,000 residents, this new change was implemented to allow victims to file an order without having to face their abuser. Please check with your local county website regarding filing the request online.  

The petitioner completes an application for a Stalking No Contact Order by describing the respondent’s actions that qualify as stalking. They also provide details about how their mental well-being and quality of life have been affected by this behavior. These direct effects aren’t necessary for a Stalking No Contact Order to be enacted, only that the petitioner believes the stalking behavior is present.

If the petitioner of a Stalking No Contact Order worries that listing their address on the application would put them in further danger, Illinois law allows them to omit it.

Once the Stalking No Contact Order application is received, a court date is set for a judge to consider the matter. The respondent receives the petition through legal service and has an opportunity to provide a defense.

If the judge decides to grant the Stalking No Contact Order, it immediately puts legal restrictions on the respondent. They are not allowed to have any kind of contact with the petitioner, in person, via phone or computer, or any other means. The Stalking No Contact Order even prevents the respondent from using another person to contact the petitioner on their behalf.

When granting a Stalking No Contact Order, a judge also has the power to confiscate a person’s Firearms Owner Identification card, restricting their gun ownership.

Violating a Stalking No Contact Order is a criminal offense.

Under Illinois law, the first violation is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Further violations are considered felonies, and the guilty party would be subject to a judge’s ruling about appropriate punishment.

A Stalking No Contact Order does not last forever, and the judge in the case has discretion over how long the term will be. Petitioners have the opportunity to file for extensions, and the process sometimes can be a long and arduous one.

We’re Here To Help

To get help in filing for a Stalking No Contact Order in Illinois, contact the caring staff at Sterk Family Law Group at (815) 600-8950 or complete the form below to contact us. We believe everyone deserves to feel safe and happy, and we can assist you in using the legal tools to help you get there. To listen to our podcast regarding the changes with protective orders in Illinois as of January 2023:

 

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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