Domestic battery charges are quite serious in Illinois. Even if a victim chooses not to press charges, state prosecutors may still pursue the case. If you have been charged with domestic battery in Illinois, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side because you may be facing serious penalties.
What Constitutes Domestic Battery?
The crime of domestic battery in Illinois occurs when a person causes a family or household member bodily harm or perpetrates insulting or provoking contact with a household or family member. In order to show that domestic battery occurred, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the harm knowingly, intentionally, and with no legally recognized justification.
There is No Supervision Available for Domestic Battery
Those convicted of non-domestic battery are eligible for supervision if it is their first offense. If the court awards supervision in lieu of more severe penalties, it will supervise the defendant and may require him or her to pay fines, conduct community service, or get counseling. At the end of the term, those who enter the court supervision program will most likely have their convictions expunged or sealed.
Domestic battery convictions are different in that those convicted of domestic battery are statutorily barred from participating in the court supervision process described above. If convicted of domestic battery, you will not have the option to have your conviction expunged and it will stay on your record permanently.
What are the Ramifications of a Domestic Battery Conviction?
A first-time domestic battery offense is typically a Class A misdemeanor. If you have a previous domestic violence conviction, aggravating factors occurred, or you violated an order of protection, you could be charged with a Class 4 felony. If the state charges you with a Class 4 felony, you could be sentenced to one to three years in prison.
If convicted, you may not only face a prison sentence, but you will also face other serious consequences. You may lose job opportunities. Potential employers will discover your domestic violence conviction if they run a background check on you and may not hire you as a result. Other government agencies and companies have policies in place barring them from hiring people with domestic violence convictions.
In addition to lost job opportunities, your relationships with family and friends may suffer after a domestic violence conviction. The penalties of a domestic battery are serious and lifelong. If you are facing a domestic battery charge in Cook County, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us by phone or by filling out an online form.
(image courtesy of Christian Holzinger)