Domestic violence is a serious crime in just about every state. Because of the political pressure cast on Illinois authorities to lay down the law on defendants involved in domestic violence allegations, prosecutors and local law enforcement have become extremely aggressive in pursuing and prosecuting people of this offense.
While there are abusers who harm innocent people and don't deserve to see the light of day again, there also are people who have been wrongfully accused of this crime - both parties equally deserve justice. Because this crime is so stigmatized in society, a mere arrest for this crime has the potential to adversely impact nearly every aspect of your life. A conviction is even more detrimental.
If you live in Illinois and have been arrested for domestic violence, it's imperative you contact the legal professionals at Dolci & Weiland. You're gonna need the help of an attorney who knows the ins and outs of Illinois law and understands the system. Our team of lawyers has an unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of our clients and vehemently fighting on their behalf. We provide every option, answer any questions, and make ourselves available at any time to ensure you have the best defense on your side.
It's important you understand the gravity of your charges and the penalties associated with them. So here's an overview of domestic violence in Illinois.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Illinois?
Illinois domestic violence laws establish criminal offenses for domestic battery. There are two years residents can constitute domestic battery and therefore commit domestic violence 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 is granted the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action was committed intentionally or knowingly without any legal justification.
Family and Household Members
A criminal act only qualifies as domestic violence if the defendant and alleged victim have a specific relationship. Domestic violence laws in the state of Illinois are far-reaching, extending far beyond people in romantic relationships. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act describes in great detail that an act of violence committed by a defendant against his or her family or household members is domestic violence. According to Illinois statute 725 ILCS 5/112A-3, a case involving any of the following relationships between parties can lead to a domestic violence charge:
- A spouse or a former spouse
- People you are dating or have dated
- Anyone related to you by blood or by present or prior marriage
- People you've had children with
- People you currently live with or lived with in the past
- People with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Illinois
A domestic violence crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, it depends on the situation. Domestic violence is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense. If you are prosecuted, you'll face a fine of $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
A second offense of a domestic violence crime will be charged as a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of $25,000.
It's important to note that a conviction for domestic violence cannot be sealed or expunged unless you are able to get a pardon from the Governor. So, if you're convicted of this crime, it'll remain on your criminal record for employers, schools, credit agencies, landlords, and basically anyone with internet access to see.
Potential Defenses for a Domestic Violence Charge
An Illinois criminal defense attorney has the knowledge and expertise to assert several potential defenses to reduce the severity of your sentence and downgrade your charge. 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 violence crimes, but the most commonly utilized is self-defense.
You were acting in self-defense when the battery occurred. In a lot of domestic violence cases, defendants claim that they acted in self-defense or for the sake of protecting their loved ones, like their children. In order for a criminal defense attorney to effectively assert this defense, it must be proven that there was an imminent danger and that the defendant acted rationally to this danger.
Charged With Domestic Violence? We Can Help
As you can see, a lot is at stake for people arrested and charged with domestic violence in Illinois. If you are in this situation, 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 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.