Being charged with domestic battery in Illinois is a serious matter, but it is always important to remember that you are entitled to your day in court. Even when an accuser gets an order of protection against you, this is not the same as a conviction. You do have the right to present a defense, especially when facing exaggerated or false allegations. Your best strategy for fighting the charges is to retain an experienced domestic battery defense attorney, but some answers to common questions may also be useful.
What Does Illinois Law Say About Domestic Battery?
Domestic violence laws in Illinois only cover situations involving certain family or personal relationships, such as those that exist between spouses, with children, parents, and other relatives. However, the statutes also apply to violence between:
- People who are dating or used to date;
- Stepparents and stepchildren;
- Parents who have a child together;
- People who used to share a residence or are former roommates;
- Disabled individuals or elderly adults and caregivers; and
- Other relationships designated by law
The Illinois statute provides that domestic battery is a criminal offense when a person having one of these types of relationships comes into unlawful contact or causes physical harm to the other.
Is Domestic Battery a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor for a first-time offense, punishable by a year incarceration, probation, fines, and possible court-ordered counseling. It becomes a Class 4 felony if:
- You have a past conviction for domestic battery;
- You use a gun in connection with the offense;
- The battery involves a child;
- The domestic battery includes sexual assault; or,
- The offense involves other circumstances stated in the statute.
You may face one to three years imprisonment if you are convicted of Class 4 domestic battery, but prosecuting attorneys may request harsher punishment in extreme cases. In some cases with certain acts, like choking, there are mandatory incarceration terms. In addition, there are some circumstances in which aggravated domestic battery charges apply. For this offense, a Class 2 felony, you may face up to seven years in prison.
Do I Have a Defense to a Domestic Battery Case?
You can defend yourself against domestic battery charges by producing evidence that the violent situation did not occur, was mutual, or that you were acting in self-defense. Witness testimony, documents, or other facts may show that your accuser was also engaged in violent acts toward you.
Plus, you should keep in mind that you can only be convicted if a prosecutor proves that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. By attacking the allegations and pointing out weaknesses in the facts, you can raise doubts in the mind of the judge or jury.
Schedule a Consultation with a Domestic Battery Defense Lawyer Today
Our attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson know that being accused of domestic battery has significant legal consequences, but we also appreciate that the allegations affect you personally. We have the knowledge and skills to fight for your rights, and significant experience in these types of cases. Our lawyers represent clients throughout Cook, DuPage, McHenry, and Lake Counties, so please contact our office to hear more about how we can help. You can schedule a consultation by calling 847-577-8700 or visiting our website to fill out a simple appointment request form.
(image courtesy of Rene Bohmer)