Accusations of domestic violence are not taken lightly in the state of Illinois. They're treated so seriously that there have been a number of community-based programs and organizations established in the state for the sole purpose of serving people who have been victimized. When mitigating these situations, privacy is a major component of keeping victims safe. This is why most shelters and recovery program locations are confidential. Illinois goes the extra mile to maintain confidentiality by making it a legal requirement and creating provisions that, if violated, are punishable by law.
Despite the enforcement of state laws, the current era of advanced technology and data collection has made it increasingly difficult for survivors to remain incognito. With the click of a mouse, sensitive information can be exposed, putting survivors in serious danger or in other compromising positions. If members of agencies are responsible for the disclosure of this information, even if it is a mistake, they will not be exempt from prosecution.
If you live in Illinois and have been arrested for disclosing the location of a domestic violence victim, contact Dolci & Weiland for help to fight your criminal charges. Our team of criminal defense attorneys is committed to protecting the rights of our clients and fiercely defend their charges. We believe that one of the keys to success is a well-informed client. That is why we go above and beyond to provide viable options, answer all your questions, and make ourselves available at any time.
Disclosing the Location of a Domestic Violence Victim in Illinois
According to Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.6(b), it is against the law for a person to publish, disseminate, or otherwise disclose the location of any domestic violence victim without their permission. In order to be prosecuted of this crime, the disclosure must be committed with intentions that it will result in or has the significant likelihood of resulting in, the threat of bodily harm.
Characterizing a Domestic Violence Victim
A person has been victimized by domestic violence, otherwise known as domestic battery when a household and family member does the following to them:
- By any means causes bodily harm to them, or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature
To constitute domestic battery, 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
- People you are dating or have dated
- People you currently live with or lived within the past
- People you are dating or have dated
- People with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers
- Anyone related to you by blood or by present or prior marriage
Penalties for Disclosing the Location of a Domestic Violence Victim
Disclosing the location of a domestic violence victim is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If you're convicted of this crime, the maximum sentence you'll face is a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
Applying For the “Address Confidentiality” Program in Illinois
People looking to escape actual or threatened domestic violence frequently establish new addresses to prevent offenders or potential assailants from finding them. There is a program, known as the Address Confidentiality Act that exists in the state of Illinois that functions to enables agencies to properly respond to requests for public records without disclosing the location of a victim.
In order to obtain another acting address, there's an application process that one must go through. A considerable application must contain the following:
- A sworn statement that declares an applicant has reason to believe that they are a victim of domestic violence, and the applicant fears for his or her safety or their child's safety
- The mailing address and the phone number(s) where the applicant can be contacted by the Attorney General
- The new address(es) that the applicant request may not be disclosed
- The signature of the applicant and of any individual who assisted in the preparation of this application (this is where the attorney's name would go)
Once completed, this application is sent straight to the Attorney General's office who has wide discretion to certify an applicant as a program participant. If you're certified, you can be an active participant for 4 years following the date of filing unless your participation is withdrawn or invalidated before that date.
It's important to note that misrepresenting yourself as a victim or providing false information on this application in any capacity is a serious crime in Illinois. If one is found guilty for lying on this application, they will be convicted of a Class 3 felony.
Class 3 felony convictions warrant a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years and fines of up to $25,000.
Charged With This Offense in Illinois? Don't Hesitate to Contact Dolci & Weiland
If you've been accused of disclosing the location of a domestic violence victim in Illinois, it's important you secure the representation of a seasoned Illinois 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 with the legal professionals at Dolci & Weiland in your corner.
The penalties for being convicted of this offense are steep and carry penalties that will stay with you unless you get the conviction sealed or expunged. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form 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.