Domestic Violence Awareness
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it’s important to be aware of the issues. If you have been a victim of or accused of domestic violence, the experienced attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. can help.
What Is Abuse and Domestic Violence?
Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over another person. These behaviors physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.
For the purposes of getting an order of protection in Illinois, domestic violence is defined as any of the following:
- Physical abuse, including:
- sexual abuse
- physical force, confinement or restraint
- purposeful, repeated and unnecessary sleep deprivation
- behavior which creates an immediate risk of physical harm.
- Harassment – unnecessary conduct which causes emotional distress, including:
- creating a disturbance at or repeatedly telephoning someone’s work or school
- repeatedly following someone in a public place or places
- repeatedly keeping someone under surveillance
- threatening physical force, confinement or restraint
- improperly hiding your child from you or repeatedly threatening to do so.
- Intimidation of a dependent
- Interference with personal liberty by physical abuse, harassment, intimidation or deprivation
- Willful deprivation –purposely denying an elderly or disabled person medication, medical care, shelter, food or other assistance needed.
Physical abuse may involve any of the following:
- Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking
- Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
- Hurting you with weapons
- Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
- Harming your children
- Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
- Driving recklessly or dangerously with you in the car
- Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
What Are the Laws Regarding Domestic Violence?
Most of the laws relevant to domestic violence are based on state law and involve restraining or protection orders, divorce, and custody. There are also federal laws that may be relevant, including immigration and military laws.
The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law. In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal cases occurring at the same time.
1) Civil Law — In a civil domestic violence action, the victim asks the court for protection from the abuser without asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, an abuser who violates the civil court order may be sent to jail for the violation. The accuser usually has the right to withdraw the case.
In Illinois, an order of protection, a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another, is issued by civil court. Other protections, such as no-contact orders for victims of sexual assault, rape or sexual abuse, may also be issued by a civil court.
2) Criminal Law — A criminal law complaint involves being charged with a crime.
In a criminal case, the state prosecutor, not the victim, brings the case against the abuser and controls whether the case continues. If the victim decides against pressing charges, the prosecutor might still continue to prosecute.
If you are accused of or involved in a domestic violence situation, the situation is serious, and you should seek legal counsel. The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.
Delay can only create more problems, so contact us for help today. Our Illinois criminal defense lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois and the entire Chicagoland area.
We understand what you are going through. For a free initial consultation with a seasoned and compassionate DuPage County criminal lawyer, contact us online or call 630-305-0222.