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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    4

    Default Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    My question involves restraining orders in the State of: Illinois

    4 days ago my girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend) filed an order of protection against me. The order was filed under false pretenses and I'm positive it was filed in order to harass me and make my life more difficult.

    In the order she states that that I've been stalking her and that I've been abusive. Not once have I done either and I've never had any criminal charges filed against me. I have phone records and text messages to prove she's been calling me and begging me to come see her. She has some bruises incurred from a night of heavy drinking and not being careful, but she is trying to say they are from me.

    She is doing everything she can to get me into to trouble by sending me messages directly and through other people. I answered one of her messages in a completely non threatening way, to which she reported me to the police as abusive. She wanted to have me arrested, but the police did not follow through with it because it was non threatening.

    She made this whole thing public on the internet. Today, When a mutual friend defended me, she was threatening to get me arrested for third party harassment.

    Honestly, I am scared and I know she's just trying to make my life difficult. She's obviously not scared of me. I'm curious what my rights are and how I can fight this prior to the court date. There's still 16 more days until the court date, but these last 4 have already been hell for me.

    Also, should I hire a lawyer to help me?
    Thank you for any help.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Consulting with an attorney when facing a court is never a bad idea. Whether or not you'll need to actually retain one will depend on how you feel after consulting with several (most initial consults are free).

    When you texted her back and didn't get arrested, you got lucky. When an order from a court says "no contact" - that's exactly what it means....notice it doesn't say "contact as long as it's not threatening". Police in this case were either lazy, or, more probable, didn't arrest you because the communication was by text, rather than voice (your defense to the arrest obviously being that anyone with access to your phone could have sent the message). If they'd have had your voice, you probably wouldn't be sitting in front of your computer to type your message. Take the "NO" seriously, and even if she is a royal pain in your backside, do NOT respond unless you are really bored and wondering what your local booking facility looks like.

    If she is trying to manipulate you into violating the order and facing arrest, you have to have enough self control to not fall into her trap. If you think you're likely to crack, then get drastic and either turn your phone off (computer, answering machine, or however she's trying to trap you), or, take more drastic action like calling your cell carrier and tell them you're receiving harassing calls/messages and you'd like to change your number (most will do this for free if you tell them it's harassment). Pain in the butt, and people hate changing their numbers, but you must find a way to either control yourself from responding in frustration, or must prevent the frustration from reaching you in the first place.

    Obviously, you'll be wanting to document as much of this contact from her as possible and bring it to court with you. Witnesses are good. Phone records are better. Voice messages are gold. See if your carrier offers detailed billing online and start printing. The phone records will be most important, because she'll use the same defense mentioned above; she'll say she didn't send the text message. You might even call your carrier and temporarily suspend your texting service (if she can't text you as part of her reign of terror, then SHE might respond in frustration and leave excellent evidence via a voice message - remember this whole frustration strategy works BOTH ways - so when you get to court and she asks for the order, you pop up and say "actually Your Honor, as this stack of records will show, she's the one who has been harassing ME, and I'd like to ask the court for an order, too"). It always annoys manipulative people when they take someone to court for their PPO hearing and theirs gets denied yet they get one slapped on them. Courts hate games like that and do their best to NOT play along.

    Finally, you might benefit from some of the stalking prevention strategies found at http://www.aardvarc.org/stalking/main.shtml.

    Good luck!
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Thank you so much for the answer.
    When the police called me about the message it seemed they knew she was playing games. They said they had to wait for the state attorney to make a decision, but they were not seeing this as an immediate threat and just told me not write her back and keep records of everything.

    I was able to print out most of my phone records and i have taken pictures of all the text messages as well as left them on my phone.
    I'm not being tempted to answer her texts, so I will be fine, I just worry she's going to get mad and start making stuff up.

    What is my immediate defense if she starts saying I showed up at her house, or that i was calling her? I have every reason to believe she wants to play games.
    I'm also not sure if this can work in my favor, but she is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and while we were dating she certainly never ever took her medication which led to a lot of outbursts.

    Thank you.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Even in legitimate and truely dangerous situations when PPOs/ROs are in place, the truth is that they get violated a lot, and enforced only a little - most often because it takes MORE than simply stating that the person showed up or making some other allegation. In order for police to make an arrest without warrant, they'd need to catch you in violation (such as at her home or other location where she is, or be seen leaving the area of her home in your vehicle, etc. - something that would provide cause to make the arrest). Otherwise, the petitioner would have to file a police report, that report goes to the DA, and the DA decides if the case will move forward (similar to what the police already told you was already happening due to her complaint that you responded to her message). The first question the DA is going to want answered is: can it be proven that the accused even remotely did what they are accused of. Where are the witnesses, the photos, the phone records, or other evidence? It's just not as simple as her saying you showed up at her door and POOF you going to jail. Even for the poor frightened people who really NEED such orders as part of their protection plan, it doesn't work that way.

    If she's hell bent on doing or saying whatever it takes to get you in hot water with the authorities or courts, your best defense is ... well....to play defense. Make darn sure you're nowhere near her, don't accidently hit her number on your speed dial, keep every receipt everywhere you go (date and time stamps can be worth their weight in gold and be your ace in the proverbial hole when she files a false police report saying you were on her doorstep yelling death threats, when you can show you were on the other side of town at dinner with friends, or paying a toll on a highway in another city). Technologies like GPS systems or OnStar can be your friend too. As in ALL things related to any sort of accusation being seen before a court, DOCUMENTATION is your friend (not only to defend yourself, but as noted, to make any false statements or reports generated by her more obvious).
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Your help is extremely appreciated. I have phone records and text messages with time stamps to prove about 50% of the allegations are false. There are a couple though that I will have a hard time with mainly the accusation of abuse.

    She mentioned on the internet that she has pictures of bruises I gave her and that she plans using it against me. Well, that's certainly not since I never hit her once. She is anemic and bruises very very easily. She recently had a large bruise on her upper right arm which was incurred from a night of heavy drinking and being careless. She never ever blamed me for it...until now.

    What should I do about it? The best I can think of is bringing a witness that has seen her get very drunk and careless. If the judge sees that most of the allegations are false, will the judge be wary of believing any of it even if I can't prove it? She has pictures, but that's it. There are absolutely no witnesses to any of this unless she were to get someone to lie for her.

    Thank you very much.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Quote Quoting house23
    View Post
    There are a couple though that I will have a hard time with mainly the accusation of abuse.
    That's the exact issue SHE will have a hard time with, too. Sure, she can TRY to use pictures of bruises, but typically the very next words out of the judge's mouth will be: "and where is the copy of the police report or medical record that documents the incident in question"? Judges really DO get it that a lot of petitions for such orders ARE bogus and intended to be a form of harassment, and that anyone can take a picture of a bruise and point a finger at anyone else. (That's why anyone who works in the field of domestic violence goes blue in the face explaining to victims that police reports are VITAL on so many levels, even if they don't immediately result in arrest.) So the court's decision will hinge on what can be SHOWN, not what can be conjured out of thin air.

    Remember too that you haven't been charged with a crime (if she really HAD solid evidence of physical abuse, it would follow that as part of any attempt to ruin your life in a vindictive manner, she'd have already gone to police with it at the time or shortly thereafter - she might have tried and they might have said - "uhhh...there's nothing to go on here"). You're facing a hearing to determine if a court order will be issued, not a criminal trial. These aren't criminal proceedings, and you're not facing incarceration (unless you violate it) - only an order from a court telling you to avoid specific action in regard to one person. They don't appear on criminal histories and eventually expire. Even if the order is granted, so long as you don't violate it, it shouldn't interfere with your daily life, job hunting (unless trying to get into law enforcement, because they will see the order), firearm possession, etc. Not trying to give a calous answer, but really, if you two have already gone your separate ways, at the end of the day, if she gets the order, it's not really a issue unless you have children to exchange, or you attend the same campus or work in the same location, etc.

    But from where I sit, with the information provided, if I were a betting woman, I'd be willing to place a small wager that the person likely to walk out with an order against them is 50/50 against HER.
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Being Harassed by the Person Who Has Order of Protection Against Me

    Thank you so much for easing my mind. I'm going to make sure I keep track of everything so I have proof during court.

    I don't want this OP going any further because we live in a very small community, we're both young and have a lot of mutual friends and events we attend. It's hard to stay away from her and I feel like this is a big part of the reason she is trying to harass me and making this OP public.

    Thank you.

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