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Illinois Stalking No Contact Orders Explained

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

In this article, we will explain Illinois Stalking No Contact Orders.  Stalking No Contact Orders are court orders intended to protect individuals who are the victims of stalking and who are not eligible to receive an Order of Protection pursuant to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act.    

What is the Difference Between a Stalking No Contact Order and an Order of Protection?

Orders of Protection may be obtained if an individual has been “abused” by a “family or household member.”  Note that the definition of the term “abuse” in the context of orders of protection is very broad, and includes harassment and threats.  Orders of protection may achieve a wide variety of remedies including awarding exclusive possession of a shared residence, requiring that the abuser stay away from the petitioner, apportioning parenting time and responsibility and monetary damages.  

In order to obtain an Order of Protection, the abuse must have occurred at the hands of a “family or household member.”  The definition of the term “family or household member” is also very broad, and includes past dating relationships.  You can learn more about what qualifies as a “family or household member” relationship by reading our article: Illinois Orders of Protection Explained.

If you are eligible to receive an Order of Protection, because you have been “abused” by a “family or household member,” an Order of Protection is the appropriate course of action, rather than a Stalking No Contact Order.  Orders of Protection provide a wider range of remedies than Stalking No Contact Orders.  Stalking No Contact Orders are an option for individuals who are not eligible for an Order of Protection because the respondent is not a “family or household member.”  

Who Can Obtain a Stalking No Contact Order in Illinois?

You can obtain a Stalking No Contact Order if you are ineligible for an Order of Protection and the respondent has engaged in “stalking” behavior.  The petition can also be filed on behalf of a minor child or an adult who cannot file the petition due to age, disability, health or inaccessibility?

What is the Definition of “Stalking” in Illinois?

To be defined as “stalking,” the respondent must have engaged in a “course of conduct,” as opposed to a single act.  A “course of conduct” is defined as two or more actions that may include, but are not limited to:

  • following;
  • monitoring;
  • surveilling;
  • threatening;
  • damaging property;
  • appearing at the petitioner’s home, school or workplace;
  • making unwanted phone calls;
  • sending unwanted texts or e-mails; and
  • Leaving objects for the petitioner.

The actions that lead to a stalking course of conduct can be direct or indirect.  Actions can be part of the stalking course of conduct even if they are undertaken by third parties.  

What is the Standard of Proof in Stalking No Contact Order Cases?

Stalking No Contact Order cases are civil proceedings, and the petitioner is required to prove his or her case by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that the petitioner’s version of events is more likely than not to be true.  

What is the Difference Between an Emergency Stalking No Contact Order and a Plenary Stalking No Contact Order?

Emergency Stalking No Contact Orders are effective for a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 21 days.  They may be issued without prior notice or service of process upon the respondent.

Plenary Stalking No Contact Orders are final orders entered after service of process upon the respondent and a hearing on the merits of the case.  Plenary Stalking No Contact Orders are effective for up to 2 years but may be extended after the conclusion of their term.  The order will be permanent if the respondent is convicted of the criminal offense of Stalking.  

What Types of Remedies Are Available for Illinois Stalking No Contact Orders?  

If an Illinois court enters a Stalking No Contact Order, the court may order the following remedies:

  • Prohibit future stalking behavior by the respondent;
  • Require that the respondent stay a specific distance away from the protected party;
  • Require that the respondent stay away from the protected party’s work, school, home or other specific location;
  • Restrict the petitioner’s access to firearms; or
  • Any injunctive relief that the court finds necessary to protect the protected parties.

What is the Penalty for Violating a Stalking No Contact Order?

The first violation of a Stalking No Contact Order is a Class A misdemeanor.  Any subsequent violations are Class 4 felony.  Violation of Stalking No Contact Orders may also lead to criminal charges for Stalking or Aggravated Stalking.  

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Who Can Obtain a Stalking No Contact Order in Illinois?

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