Civil Stalking No Contact Orders
In Illinois, the courts hold domestic violence civil order of protection proceedings over persons who have had a dating or familial relationship. The courts now also hold civil stalking no contact proceedings for persons who have not had such a relationship but where conduct is alleged to have reached the level of stalking.
The legislative purpose of the 740 ILCS 21 is to deter a course of conduct, not a single act. “Stalking behavior includes following a person, conducting surveillance of the person, appearing at the person’s home, work or school, making unwanted phone calls, sending unwanted emails or text messages, leaving objects for the person, vandalizing the person’s property, or injuring a pet. Stalking is a serious crime. Victims experience fear for their safety, fear for the safety of others and suffer emotional distress. Many victims alter their daily routines to avoid the persons who are stalking them. Some victims are in such fear that they relocate to another city, town or state. While estimates suggest that 70% of victims know the individuals stalking them, only 30% of victims have dated or been in intimate relationships with their stalkers.”
The proceedings and protections mirror many of the provisions of the domestic violence order of protection act. Both parties are entitled to hire counsel to represent their respective interests. The orders are meant to provide protection for individuals who present sufficient evidence to the court. Since this is a civil, not a criminal proceeding, the standard of the burden of proof is by a preponderance of evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the act prohibits mutual stalking no contact orders.
Although intentional violation of a no contact stalking order is a Class A misdemeanor with a second or subsequent violation a Class 4 felony, other criminal charges such as Stalking or Aggravated Stalking may also be lodged in particular situations.