Estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that about one in every four American women and one in every seven American men will suffer severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetime. To address this concern, many states have increased the severity of criminal penalties for violent acts committed against family members or intimate partners. In the state of Illinois, the crime of domestic battery is taken extremely seriously. If you are facing charges for domestic battery or any type of battery, it is important to understand what the charges mean and the potential penalties you could be facing.
Battery and Domestic Battery Defined
It is common to hear the terms “assault” and “battery” together, but under Illinois law, each refers to a separate offense—though they are related. In fact, the Illinois Criminal Code defines assault as any act or conduct that puts another person in “reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” The law goes on to define battery as conduct that causes “bodily harm to another person” or any type of contact with someone else that is considered “insulting, provocative, or unwanted.” This definition of battery includes many different possible victims.
In order for an offense of battery to be prosecuted as domestic battery, the alleged conduct must have been committed against a family member or member of the same household as the suspect in question. More specifically, the act or conduct may be charged as domestic battery if it was committed against the suspect’s:
Current or former spouse
Current or former romantic partner
Current or former roommate
Parent or stepparent
Child or stepchild
Child’s other parent
Relatives by blood or through marriage
Penalties for Domestic Battery
Under Illinois law, a person can be convicted on charges of domestic battery if prosecutors can show that he or she intentionally caused a person listed above to suffer physical injury or intentionally made physical contact in a provoking or offensive manner. A first domestic battery offense is generally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor, and it carries penalties of up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. A second offense is automatically at least a Class 4 felony. If you are convicted on domestic battery charges, you could also lose your ability to own a firearm under federal law.
Domestic battery charges can be elevated to aggravated domestic battery if the conduct in question caused serious bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability, or if the suspect is accused of attempting to strangle the victim. Aggravated domestic battery charges are substantially more serious, starting as a Class 2 felony with penalties that include up to seven years in prison.
Contact a Crystal Lake Battery Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges of domestic battery or any other type of battery in Illinois, it is important to work with an experienced McHenry County criminal defense attorney. Our team will do everything we can to fully protect your rights and best interests. Call 815-338-3838 for a free consultation at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC today.