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Is Assault and Battery the Same Thing in Illinois?

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | Oct 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

You hear people say it all the time: assault and battery. It's as though they two things is one term, and, as such, one charge.  But they aren't. Assault is a separate charge from battery. You can be charged with both simultaneously or you may be charged with only one. Here's an overview of the difference between these two Illinois criminal offenses.

What is Assault in Illinois?

Assault is a crime in Illinois and occurs when an alleged offender conducts him or herself in a way that leaves another person to reasonably believe that he or she will receive an intentional bodily injury as a result of the alleged offender's conduct. 

In cases of assault, you do not have to actually touch another person in order to be accused of or charged with assault. All that is needed to satisfy the elements of this crime is acting in a way that another person reasonably perceives a threat (real or implied) of bodily harm. 

Simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor that can result in ups to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the assault is aggravated, the offense will be charged as a more serious misdemeanor or even as a felony, and that means more jail or prison time and steeper fines. Aggravated assault can occur when, for example, the alleged offender used a firearm or wore a mask.

Examples of Assault

  • Someone raises a fist at another person and yells that is will punch his face out.
  • Someone slams his drink down at a bar and acts as though he will toss the liquid into another person's face.
  • An ex-boyfriend yells at his ex-girlfriend, who doesn't want to get back together with him, that he's going to kill her and then points a gun at her. 
  • A woman swings a fist at another woman in the bar, but the latter woman sees it coming and moves out of the way.

What is Battery in Illinois?

Battery is a crime in Illinois and occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly physically harms another person or makes physical contact that is insulting or provoking in some way. Here, actual touching must occur. Also, the actual touching must be intentional. Running through a crowd and knocking someone over, injuring him but not intentionally injuring him, does not constitute battery.

Simple battery is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, which could result in jail of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. If the battery is aggravated, the offense is a felony and the penalties are must steeper. Aggravated battery can result when the bodily injury is great or when the battery occurs on public property or when the victim fits into a certain class of persons.

Examples of Battery

  • A teacher slaps a student in or outside of class.
  • A bouncer punches a man who wants inside a nightclub.
  • A woman attacks and bites another woman in a nightclub.
  • A doctor operates on the wrong part of the body, causing injury.

If you have been charged with assault and/or battery, it is important to retain an experienced defense attorney. You may have viable defenses that can help you avoid a conviction or help you get the charges reduced. Contact Dolci & Weiland today to learn more about how we may be able to best defend you against allegations of assault and battery in the greater Chicago metro area.

About the Author

Dominick R. Dolci

Managing Partner Dominick R. Dolci focuses his practice on criminal defense litigation and civil litigation. Dom graduated from John Marshall law school in 1990. He began his legal training in the Cook County States Attorneys Office where he worked at 26th and California. He then transferred ...


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