Unfortunately, not every married couple lives happily ever after. Life can present its fair share of challenges, such as a job loss or the death of a close friend or relative, and these issues can put a significant strain on a relationship. Some spouses may turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of coping with stress. When controlled substances are added into the mix, arguments can escalate and even lead to physical confrontations in certain situations. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. If you find yourself facing charges of domestic violence, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. In some cases, the accusations may be based on false information or inadequate evidence.
Illinois Domestic Violence Act
According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, it is a crime if a person hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of a household or family member. Under the law, this can include the following individuals:
Family members related by blood
A couple who is married or was formerly married
People who share or used to share a residence
Two people who have a child in common or a blood relationship through a common child
A couple that is dating or used to date (including same-sex couples)
Anyone with a disability and their personal aides
The penalties for domestic battery can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the circumstances and the alleged offender’s record. These charges can lead to probation, jail time, fines, and mandatory anger management counseling.
Domestic Abuse Charges Stemming From Relationship Issues
When two spouses have been together for a long time, it is not uncommon for arguments to erupt during tumultuous times. In some cases, a couple may have been having problems that led one spouse to turn to addiction, further exacerbating their dysfunctional situation. If fights become physical altercations, that can be considered domestic violence. In certain scenarios, one person may be acting in self-defense to protect himself or herself or any children the couple may have together.
In addition, there may be situations where false allegations are made against a spouse for various reasons. One partner may make a wrongful claim of abuse in order to file an order of protection against his or her mate. This type of legal document orders the alleged abuser to stay away from the alleged victim or prohibits contact with him or her. This can include in-person communication or through electronic means, such as texting, calling, or emailing. In some child custody cases, one parent may claim abuse in order to gain an advantage over the other parent.
In order for someone to be convicted of domestic violence, the prosecution must provide proof that a crime occurred. With this burden of proof, the defendant must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Because domestic violence often takes place behind closed doors, this can be difficult, since it is often one person’s word against the other’s.
Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Any criminal charge has the potential to dramatically change your life. Domestic violence charges are often the result of wrongful accusations after an especially contentious argument. At the law firm of Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C., we firmly believe our clients are “innocent until proven guilty,” including in cases of alleged domestic violence. Our skilled Itasca domestic abuse defense attorneys will fight to reduce or dismiss your charges altogether. To learn your legal options, schedule a confidential consultation by calling us today at 630-875-1700.