Domestic battery and domestic violence charges are taken very seriously by prosecutors in Illinois. Even innocent people can feel like they have limited options after a domestic battery arrest. Domestic battery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your case. Regardless, a conviction for a said crime can have a detrimental effect on nearly every aspect of your life. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain your options and help you fight a criminal conviction.
If you live in Illinois and have been arrested for domestic battery, contact Dolci & Weiland for help to fight any criminal charges. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has an unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of our clients and fiercely defending their charges. We believe the first step towards success is to provide every option, answer any questions, and make ourselves available at any time to ensure you have the best defense on your side.
What Is Illinois Domestic Battery?
There are two ways residents can commit domestic battery in Illinois. According to statutory law (720 ILCS 5-12/3.2), a person commits domestic battery if he or she:
- by any means causes bodily harm to any family or household member, or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.
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.
Family and Household Members
A family or household member includes the following persons (725 ILCS 5/112A-3):
- A spouse or former spouse
- Anyone related to you by blood or by present or prior marriage
- People you have had children with
- People you are dating or have dated
- People you currently live with or lived within the past
- People with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers
Penalties for Domestic Battery in Illinois
Domestic battery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Domestic battery is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense. If you're convicted, the maximum penalty you'll face is a fine of $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
A second offense of domestic battery will be charged as a Class 4 felony, which has a sentencing range of 1-3 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.
The most notable aspect of this crime is that it entails a mandatory minimum sentence of conviction. Most misdemeanor crimes result in a sentence of supervision, essentially a dismissal without the admission of guilt, for a first offense. But this option is forfeited in cases involving domestic battery. Simply put, a conviction for domestic battery can never be sealed or expunged unless you are able to get a pardon from the Governor. So, if convicted of this crime, it'll remain on your criminal record for the public, employers, schools, credit agencies, and landlords to see.
Potential Defenses for a Domestic Battery Charge
An Illinois criminal defense attorney has the expertise and knowledge to utilize several potential defenses to reduce the severity of your sentence. In some cases, a legal defense may be so convincing that it causes your charges to be dropped altogether. There are several possible defenses to domestic battery, but the most commonly utilized is self-defense.
You were acting in self-defense when the battery occurred. In many domestic battery cases, defendants claim they acted in self-defense or for the sake of protecting other people, like their children. But in order for this defense to be justified in the eyes of a judge or jury, a few elements must be present:
- Imminent danger: It must be proven that you were, or that you were given a reason to believe that there was an imminent danger or threat to you, or someone else. In Illinois, this danger is constituted by the belief that you were in danger of being touched unlawfully, killed or injured. For example, let's say that your partner found an article of clothing belonging to another woman in your room and she's hysterical. You beg her to leave to calm down before she does something drastic. Instead, she grabs a knife out of the kitchen counter and lunges at you with a sharp blade. You punch her once, knocking her out completely, and proceed to call the police. This situation would warrant your response because you had a legitimate fear that she was about to seriously injure you.
- A rational response: It is only legal to claim you acted in self defense if you acted rationally to this imminent danger. If you respond to this danger in a way that can be perceived as irrationally aggressive or dangerous, you may not be able to justify self defense in your case of domestic battery.
Charged with Domestic Battery in Illinois? Contact Dolci and Weiland
As you can see, the stakes are high for people arrested and charged with domestic battery in Illinois. If you are in this predicament, it's critical you secure the representation of a criminal defense attorney right now. You should never defend yourself in any case, let alone one as serious as this one, and you won't have to with the legal professionals at Dolci & Weiland in your corner.
In these cases especially, it is best to obtain an attorney upon immediate notice of your charges. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.