Aggravated domestic battery under Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3) is defined in two ways:
- When in the commission of a domestic battery, a person knowingly or intentionally causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement to another.
- When a person committing domestic battery strangles another.
To strangle someone under this definition means intentionally blocking the normal breathing or blood circulation of a person by putting pressure on the neck or throat or by blocking the mouth or nose of that person. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(a-5). Note that even one incidence of strangulation or choking is enough for a conviction of aggravated domestic battery, and the duration of the strangulation does not matter.
A Chicago defense lawyer can explain how domestic battery is a separate crime that is defined as knowingly causing bodily harm to, or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with, a family or household member. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60/101) defines who qualifies as a family or household member for purposes of the domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery charges. The definition includes dating couples, as well as people who live together, and caretakers to other household or family members with disabilities.
If the injuries sustained by a person claiming to be a victim of aggravated domestic battery are not serious enough, the charges could be reduced to domestic battery. Illinois law requires injuries that are more serious than bruises, lacerations or abrasions for injuries to be considered great bodily harm.
However, certain bruising or swelling or other signs of strangulation around the neck area, or bruising and swelling around the nose or mouth of the alleged victim of domestic battery could be used to prove the crime under the second definition. Therefore, even with just bruising, a person may be convicted of aggravated battery.
Additionally, in accepting evidence of injuries sufficient to be considered great bodily harm, the court may go beyond the alleged victim’s testimony alone, and look at the facts of the case. For example, in a case where the victim testified that she only suffered minor injuries, the court can rely on additional medical evidence of the victim’s injuries to convict the defendant of aggravated domestic battery.
However, when the outcome of a case depends heavily on a victim’s testimony, and there is no additional evidence, an experienced defense attorney can properly question the victim to arrive at the truth.
Who can File a Case for Aggravated Domestic Battery?
Aggravated domestic battery can only occur between individuals who have a certain type of relationship. These include:
- Step parents and children.
- The elderly or disabled caregivers and adults.
- Parents and children.
- Former and current roommates.
- Blood related family members.
Aggravated domestic battery is a class 2 felony in Illinois and is generally punishable by between 3 to 7 years in prison. However, the sentence could be extended to up to 14 years in prison. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.3(b). Probation is available for first offenses; however, if the person is convicted for a second or subsequent aggravated domestic battery offense, the person must be sentenced to between 3 to 14 years as applicable. If probation or conditional discharge is given, a person convicted of this crime must serve a mandatory 60 consecutive days imprisonment. Additional fines imposed as part of the sentence can be up to $25,000.
Violation of an Order of Protection
In the state of Illinois, the petitioner (i.e. the person who is the victim of aggravated domestic battery) may file a petition in court asking for protection from abusive household members, someone they had a dating relationship with etc. The latter are known as respondents and they are also given a chance to contest the petition in court.
In Illinois, the violation of a protective order that protects victims of aggravated domestic battery is also considered a serious crime. The order may include provisions that forbid the respondent to intimidate, harass and/or physically abuse the petitioner. Plus, the order may also award the petitioner the residence of the respondent thus requiring the respondent to leave and stay away. This is common in an aggravated domestic battery case that causes great bodily harm or permanent disability/disfigurements.
If the respondent has a prior conviction of violating a protective order, committing a violent crime or domestic abuse against a family or household member, another violation is considered a Class 4 felony. A first time violation is considered a Class A misdemeanor in comparison.
Preparing a Defense for Aggravated Domestic Battery
An experienced domestic battery attorney can ensure you get the justice you are looking for. In case you have been accused of domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence, get in touch with a defense attorney from our Illinois law firm today! To prepare a defense, we will examine the evidence that is presented by the Prosecutor will use to prove their case. Some of the types of evidence that may be put forth and can strengthen their case include:
- Written statements from the alleged victim or victims.
- Photographs of the injuries they sustained from your hands allegedly.
- 911 recorded calls made at the time of the incident.
- Police reports.
- Witness statements.
- Prior domestic battery charges or any past criminal history.
Among others. An experienced defense attorney for aggravated domestic battery can have your charges reduced or dismissed. You cannot be convicted of the crime if the Prosecutor cannot prove ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ to the judge and jury that you are guilty of the crime and they will do their best to ensure the chips fall in their favor.
An aggravated domestic battery conviction can mar your reputation irreparably and reduce your employment opportunities as well. Additionally, it will also prohibit you from acquiring Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card so you will not be able to purchase or keep firearms for your protection.
Our attorneys can address your aggravated domestic battery case in a bid to protect your freedom and reputation. We understand how complex and tricky these cases can be and will use all of the resources and knowledge at our disposal to secure the best result possible. Our aim will be to get your conviction reduced or dismissed completely by proving lack of evidence to support it.
Get in touch with us today for a strategy meeting that can protect your future. Our attorneys will explore all avenues of recovery aggressively to ensure you get the best representation possible even for the most serious conviction. Call us to set up your free consultation.
Contact a Chicago Defense Lawyer
If you are arrested on charges of aggravated domestic battery or have a pending Violation of an Order of Protection, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Steven Goldman immediately for a consultation on your case.