Along with criminal laws against domestic violence, it is against the law for a domestic violence offender to keep a victim from getting help. This law is known as “interfering with reporting domestic violence.” This crime is usually charged as a misdemeanor in conjunction with a domestic violence charge. But don't think that just because this isn't a felony that it is a minor crime - the state of Illinois takes all domestic violence reporting charges very seriously. A conviction can wreak havoc on your life, making it much more difficult to live normally after serving your time.
If you have been charged and arrested with interfering with reporting domestic violence in Illinois, an experienced defense attorney can explain your options and help you fight a criminal conviction. The legal team at Dolci & Weiland have the knowledge and experience to help you defend your charges. We believe the first step towards success is to provide you with options, answer any questions you have about your case, and make ourselves accessible when you need us.
What is ‘Interfering With Reporting Domestic Violence' in Illinois?
According to Illinois criminal law (720 ILCS 5/12-3.5), a person commits the offense of interference with the report of domestic violence when he or she knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a victim of domestic battery or a witness from alerting the authorities or obtaining medical assistance.
In order for a defendant to be convicted, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant committed an act of domestic violence or domestic battery,
- The victim or witness was reporting the domestic violence or seeking medical attention as a result of it, and
- The defendant knowingly prevented or attempted to prevent the victim or witness from reporting the act of domestic violence or seeking medical attention.
It's important to note that even attempting to stop a victim from reaching out to agencies or organizations that would provide them with help and resources is strictly forbidden and punishable under this law. This attempt does not have to be successful in order for a person to be charged. Any of the following actions could lead to an interfering with reporting domestic violence charge:
- Attempting to physically prevent the victim from placing a call to the police
- Hiding, destroying, breaking or disabling the phone
- Attempting to make it difficult for a victim to speak to the authorities on the phone
- Trying to make it difficult for a victim to be heard by the authorities on the phone
- Attempting to prevent a victim from telling the police something when the police arrive on the scene
Penalties for ‘Interfering With Reporting Domestic Violence'
Interference with the report of domestic violence is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. A conviction carries penalties of up to one year in jail, two years of probation, and a maximum fine of up to $2,500.
There are repercussions outside of the criminal justice system that may be imposed due to the stigma attached to this crime and related ones. These are called "collateral consequences," and are carried out by society in post-conviction life. If convicted, you'll create a criminal record, which within itself can be detrimental to nearly every aspect of your life. With a criminal record your opportunities to find a job, a place to live, further your education and even apply for government resources are severely limited until you can get this conviction expunged. The most effective way to avoid this reality is to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can fight a conviction.
Potential Defenses for an ‘Interfering With Reporting Domestic Violence' Charge
Serious crimes like interfering with reporting domestic violence absolutely require the assistance of a legal professional. An Illinois criminal defense attorney has the expertise and experience to utilize certain defenses in an effort to drastically reduce your sentence. In some cases, an attorney may have been able to apply an offense that may be so damaging that it leads to the criminal charges being dropped altogether. A defense that is commonly applied in these cases is:
You didn't intend to prevent the reporting of domestic violence. Most situations involving domestic violence are disorderly and emotional. It's common for people in these circumstances to do things in the heat of the moment without thinking. Some defendants may claim that their intent wasn't to prevent the reporting of domestic violence but to do something else. In many cases, the chaotic nature of domestic violence crimes makes it difficult for the state to prove a defendant's intent unless i is explicitly stated.
Have You Been Charged in Illinois? You Need an Attorney
If you've been charged with interfering with reporting domestic violence in Illinois, you may be feeling scared, overwhelmed and hopeless. The good news is that you don't have to fight this legal battle on your own With Dolci & Weiland in your corner. Our legal team is committed to providing you with the quality representation you deserve to defend your charges.
Don't let one poor decision affect the rest of your life - to contact a legal representative at Dolci & Weiland, complete an online case evaluation form or feel free to call the office nearest to you today. For our downtown Chicago office, call 312-238-9007, and for our DuPage location, call 630-261-9098.