A group of friends who graduated high school together is excited to finally go to a Bears game. They have wives and children, and they are looking forward to catching up while roasting brats, tailgating, and drinking beer. While they are tailgating and waiting for the game, they start talking about politics, specifically, the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
One of the six friends was a veteran who spent time serving in Afghanistan. He begins to argue with a friend who disagrees, and tensions rise. Even though one of the friends tries to get everyone to calm down and enjoy the game, the damage has been done. In the heat of the moment, one of the friends lunges toward the other and punches him. The fight snowballs, and before they know it, more people are throwing punches. Now several of the friends are facing assault and battery charges.
Illinois’ Assault and Battery Laws
Anyone involved in a fight at a Bears game or other sporting event can face criminal charges. Even if you are involved in a brawl with a friend, and your friend has forgiven you, you can still face criminal charges and serious penalties. You may face charges for assault and/or battery. Under Illinois Law, assault occurs when someone threatens to harm another person. Battery occurs when one person makes physical contact with or harms another person.
The main difference between battery and assault is whether the defendant touched the other person. For example, suppose someone holds back his arm as if he were going to punch another person but never actually punched him. In that case, he would face assault charges. As long as the victim felt that their safety was threatened or that they were at reasonable risk of injury, the elements of assault have been met.
Sometimes people assume that to be charged with battery, the defendant must have caused another person to be injured. On the contrary, even if one person gently slaps another person and does not leave a mark or cause any damage, they can face battery charges. Typically, in brawls that occur at sporting events, at least one person will be injured. It does not necessarily matter who started the fight, anyone who caused another person's injuries or threatened another person can face assault and battery charges.
The Penalties for Assault and Battery
There are several different categories of assault and battery in Illinois. Typically, prosecutors charge assault as a Class C misdemeanor which carries up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500 plus a requirement of up to 120 hours of community service. Battery is a Class A misdemeanor. However, a defendant can be charged with an aggravated battery when certain aggravating factors are involved, such as carrying a weapon.
Facing Assault or Battery Charges After a Brawl? We Can Help
At Glasgow & Olsson, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of success in many high-profile state and federal criminal cases. You can see defense attorney Thomas Glasgow on local Chicago news when he fought to get a former police officer’s conviction vacated. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how our legal team can fight for your rights.