Does Your IL Protection Order Include a GPS Buffer Zone?
Domestic violence can have grave consequences for its victims. The most tragic is when their death occurs at the hands of their abuser, even when the law was supposed to protect them.
One such woman, Cindy Bischof, was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend in the parking lot of her place of employment. She had a protective order against him, but he repeatedly violated it. She had asked the court to affix him with a GPS monitor to prevent further violations. Unfortunately, no provision in the law allowed for that at the time.
From her death came a new law that aims to prevent this from happening to anyone else. It allows judges to order GPS monitoring of those under protection orders related to domestic violence cases.
While GPS seems like a winning strategy, the frequent reality is: it doesn’t lead to more arrests in Illinois. Police have admitted that, unless another crime is linked to the order of protection violation, they will not make an arrest.
Here’s what you need to know about the Cindy Bischof law, as well as the penalties violators can and should face when it’s broken.
What Is an Order of Protection?
An order of protection requires the person named by the order to keep a particular distance from a specific person for a set amount of time. Orders of protection are often granted by the court to victims of domestic violence. They can last up to two years.
Provisions Under the Cindy Bischof Law
The Cindy Bischof law went into effect in January of 2009. It allows the judge issuing an order of protection to require the defendant to wear a GPS monitoring device.
The law also creates more consequences for those who violate orders of protection. Domestic violence defendants go through the following court-ordered process:
- Complete a risk assessment evaluation
- The court sets bail with the risk assessment in mind
- Electronic surveillance can be ordered as a condition of bail
When offenders are convicted of violating orders of protection, then the court can:
- Require offenders to be placed on probation
- Require wearing a GPS monitor
- Make the GPS monitor a condition of supervised release or parole
Once the GPS monitor is placed, the court establishes protection zones, consulting the victim in this process. Once zones are established, offenders may not come within 2500 feet of the victim. If an offender enters the victim’s protection zone, it is a violation of the protective order.
Victims can also opt to carry a GPS device with them, but it is not necessary under the law.
What Happens When an Order of Protection is Violated?
Under Illinois law, anyone who knowingly violates an order of protection commits a Class A misdemeanor. If minors are involved, it is a Class 4 felony.
Willful violation can also result in contempt of court, which carries penalties of possible time in jail, fines, and community service.
For first violations, the recommended sentencing constitutes a minimum of 24 hours of jail time, with one day added for each subsequent violation.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.