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Domestic Battery in Illinois is considered a violent crime that carries with it not only severe criminal penalties but also significant collateral consequences.
What is the Definition of Domestic Battery in Illinois?
Domestic violence in Illinois occurs when a person knowingly and without legal justification causes bodily harm or makes physical contact of an “insulting or provoking nature” to a family or household member.
The physical contact can be minimal and does not have to leave a mark or cause permanent injury.
Who are Family or Household Members Under Illinois Domestic Battery Law?
Family or household members are defined by Illinois Domestic Violence Law as:
Family members related by blood or by present or prior marriage;
People who are married or used to be married;
People who share or used to share a home, apartment, or other common dwelling;
People who have or allegedly have a child in common or a blood relationship through a child in common;
People who are dating or engaged or used to date, including same sex couples; and
People with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers.
However, a simple casual acquaintanceship or an ordinary friendship between two people in business or in social contexts does not constitute a dating relationship.
What are the Possible Penalties for a Domestic Battery Charge in Illinois?
Generally, domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. Like all Class A misdemeanors, domestic violence can be punished by a maximum sentence of 1-year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Supervision is not a valid sentencing option in domestic battery cases in Illinois.
In addition to any other sentence imposed, a person who commits, in the presence of a child, which is defined as a person under 18 years of age, a felony domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, unlawful restraint, or aggravated unlawful restraint, against a family or household member must serve a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days or perform 300 hours of community service, or both. The person is also responsible for the costs of any counseling required for the child.
When Can a Domestic Battery Be Charged as a Felony?
Although most domestic battery charges are misdemeanors, in certain situations domestic violence is a felony offense. Domestic battery is a Class 4 felony if the person has any prior convictions for a violation of an order of protection. A prior conviction for certain offenses that are committed against a family or household member can also turn a domestic violence charge into a Class 4 felony. These offenses are first degree murder, attempt to commit first degree murder, aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery, heinous battery, aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated battery with a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer, aggravated battery of a child, aggravated battery of an unborn child, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, stalking, aggravated stalking, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, unlawful restraint, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated arson, or aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Domestic battery can also be a felony in Illinois based upon prior domestic battery convictions.
Domestic battery is a Class 4 felony if you have one or 2 prior convictions
Domestic battery is a Class 3 felony if you have 3 prior convictions under this Code for domestic battery
Domestic battery is a Class 2 felony if you have 4 or more prior convictions
In addition to any other sentencing option, any second or subsequent conviction for domestic battery carries with it mandatory minimum sentence of 72 consecutive hours of imprisonment. The imprisonment cannot be a suspended sentence and probation cannot be used to reduce the sentence.
What are the Collateral Consequences to a Domestic Battery Conviction?
As mentioned previously, court supervision is not a valid sentencing option for domestic battery, as a result, domestic violence is not subject to expungement. Additionally, a domestic battery conviction cannot be sealed. The only executive clemency that is available is a pardon, which is very difficult to get. Therefore, once you are convicted for domestic battery it will likely stay on your record forever.
After entering sentence for domestic battery, the court is required to admonish the defendant that a conviction for domestic violence will subject the individual to federal violations if the person ever possesses, transports, ships, or receives a firearm or ammunition. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a person convicted of domestic battery in Illinois gives up their 2nd Amendment rights to own a firearm.
What are the Defenses to Domestic Battery in Illinois?
All Chicago criminal defense attorneys must understand that each case is different and a defense that was successful in one case may not work in another. That said, domestic battery cases usually fall under two big categorizes. The first involves cases where the main defense is to discredit the alleged victim of the domestic battery by exposing the person’s biases, prejudices, or motivations to either lie or exaggerate the truth. The second main category involves cases where the affirmative defense of self-defense is raised. Without a doubt, an experienced criminal defense attorney will increase your chances of success at trial.
Domestic battery is regarded as a serious violent crime in not just Illinois but throughout the country. As a former prosecutor, I can tell you first-hand the contempt that judges feel towards defendants charged with domestic battery. If the State has a cooperative victim, then it is almost certain that the prosecutor will ask for a significant period of jail time.
Domestic battery is not a crime to take lightly and a crime that requires you to hire the best attorney that you can afford. With the publicity surrounding domestic violence today, even one domestic battery conviction can result in you being fired from your job. Don’t take the chance of having the stigma of being convicted of a violent offense attached to you.
The Chicago criminal defense attorney at Jaleel Law P.C. has the experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex domestic battery case in Illinois. We aren’t afraid of the prosecutor because we know what it takes to walk in those shoes and we will defend you aggressively and we will leave no stone unturned in your defense. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.
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Chicago Domestic Battery Attorney
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