While every criminal charge should be taken seriously, a person faced with a charge of aggravated battery involving a firearm has a great deal to lose upon conviction of the charge. This charge can carry hefty financial repercussions, along with lengthy prison sentences. Successfully defending against such a charge requires immediate attention from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The criminal defense division of Dolci & Weiland's legal team is dedicated to providing the legal representation you need to defend against your charge.
Illinois Aggravated Battery Statute
Aggravated battery with a firearm is prohibited in Illinois by Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(e). The statute states that a person commits aggravated battery when, in the commission of a battery, the individual knowingly does any of the following:
- Discharges a firearm and causes any injury to another person;
- Discharges a firearm and causes any injury to a person the individual knows to be a peace officer, community policing volunteer, person summoned by a police officer, fireman, private security officer, correctional institution employee, or emergency management worker;
- Discharges a firearm and causes any injury to a person the individual knows to be emergency medical services personnel; or
- Discharges a firearm and causes any injury to a person the individual knows to be a teacher, student, or school employee if the person injured was on school grounds.
Penalties for Aggravated Battery with a Firearm
No matter the circumstances, a conviction of aggravated battery with a firearm is a Class X felony conviction, which is the most severe conviction that a person can face in the state of Illinois. If you are facing a Class X felony for a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm, you can be facing decades in prison, as a Class X felony conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of 12 years.
Penalties for the commission of aggravated battery with a firearm are even more severe if the individual was injured because of his or her occupational status as a police officer, fireman, or other occupation outlined above. Specifically, the commission of aggravated battery with a firearm becomes a Class X felony charge if the victim:
- Was attacked while performing his or her official duties;
- Was attacked to prevent the performance of his or her official duties; or
- Was attacked in retaliation for performing his or her official duties.
If you were accused of shooting a fireman while on the job, for example, you would be facing a Class X felony. Similarly, if you were charged with aggravated battery following the shooting of a police officer in order to prevent the officer from arresting you, a Class X felony would have been committed.
Penalties for aggravated battery with a firearm are also more severe if a machine gun was used in the commission of the battery, or if the gun used in the battery was equipped with a silencer. In such a case, a person convicted faces a minimum prison sentence of 20 years and a maximum of 60 years.
In some cases, a conviction of aggravated battery with a firearm can lead to a life sentence of imprisonment. Specifically, if a victim of a battery involving a firearm was shot and suffered great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death, a person convicted of the crime can face imprisonment for life.
Defenses to an Aggravated Battery Charge
If you've been charged with aggravated battery involving a firearm, it's important to leave the defense of your case to a seasoned criminal defense attorney with experience handling serious criminal charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assert a legal defense to your charge which could lessen the severity of the penalties that you can face if you are convicted of your charge. Common defenses to a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm include:
- Self Defense: in some cases, your criminal defense attorney may be able to assert that you committed aggravated battery in order to protect yourself from severe bodily harm or death. If you were involved in a fight with a person who drew a gun on you, for example, you may be able to assert self-defense if you shot the person in order to prevent from being shot yourself. The key aspect in a self-defense claim is that the reaction is proportionate to the harm that you faced; in other words, a self-defense assertion would likely be unsuccessful if a person shot an unarmed person to prevent from being punched by that person.
- Defense of Others: similar to self-defense, you may be able to assert the defense of others if you committed a battery with a firearm in order to prevent someone other than yourself from being harmed. If, for example, you shot a person who was robbing a woman at gunpoint, your attorney may be able to argue that the only reason you committed the crime was to protect the woman from being harmed.
No matter the defense that is asserted, a successful defense can lessen the penalties that you may face if you are convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm. In some cases, your defense may be so effective that it results in your charges being dropped altogether.
Facing a Charge of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm? We Can Help
If you are an Illinois resident who has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery involving a firearm, it's critical to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your charge. Charges of aggravated battery are more complicated than a run-of-the-mill battery charge, and conviction of such a charge can land you in prison for years.
Don't try to defend against an aggravated battery charge on your own--hiring a criminal defense attorney can increase your chances of a positive outcome. To speak with a member of the Dolci & Weiland criminal defense team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call the office nearest to you today--for our DuPage location, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago office, call (312) 238-9007.