When Does a Fight Rise to Aggravated Battery in Illinois?

Illinois law states that the crime of battery occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily harm to an individual or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. Even a light touch that causes no bodily injury can be a battery. Battery is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois; the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year of county jail time.

Aggravated battery is considered a felony in Illinois. Aggravated battery usually carries a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and a five-year state prison sentence. Several factors can enhance the sentence to up to 45 years in the penitentiary. If the crime meets any one factor listed in Illinois statutory law, the crime will rise from battery to aggravated battery.

A battery will rise to an aggravated battery when any one or more of the following factors occurred during the battery:

  • The defendant intentionally or knowingly caused permanent disability or disfigurement.
  • The defendant used a deadly weapon when the battery occurred.
  • The defendant was wearing a hood, robe, or mask in an effort to conceal his or her identity.
  • The defendant knew that the person harmed was employed by a school as a teacher or school employee. The battery occurred on school property.
  • The battered person was on public property or a public place of accommodation or amusement.
  • The defendant knew the individual harmed is was pregnant, 60 years of age or older, or was handicapped.

Could I be Charged with Aggravated Battery for Fighting?

In order to convict someone of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused bodily harm to an individual or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. He or she must additionally prove that one of the factors listed above was met.

In Illinois, school fights could constitute aggravated battery. Imagine two students, Bob and Neil get into a fight at school and both punch each other. Everyone knows that Neil has a physical handicap. A teacher comes over to break up the fight. Bob, in a fit of rage, hits a teacher with his fist. Neither the teacher nor the students are injured.

Bob could be charged with battery because he intentionally made physical conduct of a provoking nature when he punched Neil. He could also be charged with aggravated battery because he knew that Neil had a physical handicap at the time of the battery.

Bob intentionally made physical conduct of a provoking nature when he hit his teacher; this is enough for a battery conviction. Because he knew that the person he hit was a teacher and he hit the teacher in a school, this would likely be enough for an aggravated battery charge.

The penalties of an aggravated battery conviction are very serious. Those convicted could spend five years in prison and pay a significant fine. If you are facing an aggravated battery charge in Cook County Illinois, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact us today.

(image courtesy of Jonathan Sharp)

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