Aggravated domestic battery is a very serious offense in Illinois, and if you've been accused of committing it, you need the immediate assistance of a legal professional. A crime of this nature comes with a stigma that causes innocent people to feel the adverse effects of this offense before even going to trial. Defendants have dealt with a ruined reputation, limited opportunities, and other repercussions, all before being convicted. So you can only imagine the impact an aggravated domestic battery conviction can have on the life of an offender.
If you live in Illinois and have been charged with aggravated domestic battery, contact Dolci & Weiland to represent you. Our legal team is dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring you have a fighting chance in court. A well-informed client is a client geared for success, and we're willing to answer questions you have about your charge, your options, and the projection of your case.
What is Illinois Aggravated Domestic Battery?
According to Illinois statutes (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3), a person commits aggravated domestic battery if he or she:
- Causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement while committing domestic battery; or
- Strangles another individual while committing domestic battery
In both cases, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the action was committed intentionally or knowingly without any legal justification.
As its name implies, aggravated domestic battery is essentially domestic battery with aggravating factors. If the injuries sustained by a person claiming to be a victim of this crime aren't serious enough, your charges could be reduced to domestic battery. To meet the standard of “great bodily harm,” injuries must be more severe than mild bruises and scratches.
It's important to note that just one incidence of what can be perceived as “strangulation” is enough to justify a conviction of this crime. The duration of the strangulation and other details surrounding the incident don't matter. According to Illinois law, to strangle is to intentionally block the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of that person. (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a-5))
Family and Household Members
What differentiates aggravated domestic battery from other types of battery is the relationship between the accuser and the defendant. This crime can only be charged when a family or household member is allegedly battered. A family or household member includes the following persons (725 ILCS 5/112A-3):
- A spouse or former spouse
- People you have had children with
- People you are dating or have dated
- People you currently live with or lived with in the past
- People with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers
- Anyone related to you by blood or by present or prior marriage
Penalties for Aggravated Domestic Battery in Illinois
Aggravated domestic battery is classified as a Class 2 felony. Conviction includes the possibility of three to seven years in prison or probation with a minimum of 60 days in prison. If there are prior convictions on your record, you may face up to 14 years in prison. Additional fines imposed as a part of this sentence can be up to $25,000.
The consequences of a conviction for aggravated domestic battery aren't limited to those of the criminal justice system. If you're convicted of this crime, the felony will remain on your criminal record indefinitely until you get it expunged. A felony conviction will have a detrimental impact on your life, affecting your ability to find a job, find a place to live, and even further your education. As aforementioned, the social stigma of aggravated domestic battery and other crimes of this nature are brutal.
Defenses for an Aggravated Domestic Battery Charge
An Illinois criminal defense attorney is equipped with the knowledge and experience to utilize certain defenses in an effort to reduce your sentence. And in some cases, an attorney can present a legal defense that may be so damaging that it leads to your charges being dropped altogether. A few defenses that could be potentially applied to your case include:
You were acting in self-defense when the battery transpired. In many aggravated domestic battery cases, the most common legal strategy is to claim you acted to protect yourself. But in order for this defense to be justified in the eyes of a judge or jury, the claim of self-defense needs to be a rational response in the face of imminent danger.
- A rational response: Claiming you acted in self-defense is only lawful if you acted rationally to an imminent danger. If your response to this danger could be perceived as irrational, overly aggressive, or dangerous, the courts or a judge may rule out self-defense in your case. For example, it may not be considered a rational response if someone throws a shoe at you and you respond by throwing a kitchen knife.
- Imminent danger: In Illinois, imminent danger the belief that you were in danger of being unlawfully touched, killed, or injured. For a self-defense claim, the individual claiming the defense must be found to be in imminent danger, or he or she had reason to believe that there was an imminent danger.
You were protecting a child or vulnerable adult who could not protect themselves. The courts tend to excuse people who acted to defend a child or a vulnerable person in an incident.
Charged with Aggravated Domestic Battery in Illinois? We Can Help
There is a lot at stake for people arrested and charged with aggravated domestic battery in Illinois. If you are in this predicament, it's important you secure legal representation as soon as possible. You shouldn't defend yourself in any circumstances, let alone with charges as serious as these. And with the legal team at Dolci & Weiland in your corner, you won't have to.
In criminal cases, time is of the essence. It is best to obtain an attorney as soon as you are informed of your charges. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the offices closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.