Battery Charges in Illinois

Man committing battery on another person

Under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3, a person commits the crime of battery when he or she does the following acts knowingly and without legal justification:

  1. Causes bodily harm to an individual by any means; or
  2. Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual by any means.

Commonly, people use terms as “assault and battery” to refer to the crime of battery. However, they are usually referring to the crime of assault. In addition, simple battery charges are completely different than “domestic battery” which is defined as committing a battery on a family or household member. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2.

Generally, charges for battery under the first classification of “causes bodily harm to in individual by any means” is a lot more common than the second classification of ” makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual by any means.

Battery charges often stem from fights between two or more people. One punch alone is enough for pressing a charge against a battery or an assault.

If the police are called when a fight breaks out, everybody involved in the physical contact might be arrested. Or the police may arrest some people and not others. Similarly, the prosecution may choose to prosecute one person in a fight and not another.

How Goldman & Associates Can Help

Our Chicago defense lawyers can explain how some defenses may apply in battery cases. Maybe it’s a claim of self-defense that could help you beat the case. Since the charge of battery prohibits people from causing bodily harm to others without legal justification, your lawyer could possible argue that you were in fact justified.

Self-defense or some other type of legal justification will most likely be argued by your criminal attorney as the best defense to battery charges. However, every set of facts are different and some defenses may work in one scenario but not in another.

It is important to remember that for most self-defense situations, the battery has to be concerning an immediate threat. An experienced criminal attorney can discuss other applicable defenses that may apply under the facts of your particular case. Get in touch with our attorneys for more information.

Battery May Involve Touch of Any Kind

If a person is accused of a battery through “insulting or provoking” touching, it is not limited to a touch by hand or any other body part.

The touching can be through the use of an object, or other means, as well. The courts have determined that spitting on someone is a battery as well. Those courts have said that spitting is in fact a contact/touching of an insulting or provoking nature. However, it has to be deliberate and not accidental, such as a sneeze or bumping into someone on the bus.

The Most Common Battery Charges in Chicago, IL

The charge of battery can fall into different categories of crimes. Some are more severe than others. However, they all share one common element: an unwanted or unlawful touching of some sort.

These are just some examples of battery charges that are more serious than a simple battery:

Domestic Battery

According to Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, a person can be charged with domestic battery if he/she knowingly and illegally causes bodily harm or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a household member, whether they are related or not. This includes:

  • Spouses.
  • Former spouses.
  • Children and stepchildren.
  • Individuals who are related to the defendant.
  • Individuals who shared a dwelling or former dwelling with the defendant.
  • Individuals who have a child in common or share blood relationship through a child.

This could also be charged as Aggravated Domestic Battery if certain “aggravating” factors are present.

Aggravated Battery

Under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05, aggravated battery is a crime that an individual can be charged with if he/she commits battery and knowingly causes great bodily harm, disability, disfigurement to another person. An individual may be charged with the crime based on the following:

  • Location.
  • The status of the victim.
  • Use of firearms or other devices.
  • Certain types of conduct.
  • The injuries sustained by the victim.
  • The status of the victim.

Aggravated Battery and Great Bodily Harm

Under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.3, a person commits aggravated battery if he/she knowingly causes great bodily harm to another and/or strangles them. Even a single incident of strangulation can lead to a conviction if the injuries are serious enough.
While Illinois law requires that injuries that are more serious than bruises are considered great bodily harm, certain injuries can be used to prove that the crime was committed.

Aggravated Battery of Senior Citizen

Aggravated battery of a senior citizen is a serious crime. In order to be convicted, the prosecution needs to prove that the victim was over 60 years of age or older at the time of the aggravated battery. They also have to prove that the defendant caused great bodily harm to the senior victim intentionally or knowingly.
Under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(1), the definition of the crime is based on the injuries the senior victim sustains as opposed to their age. The evidence presented in such cases is mostly circumstantial and the victim has to be present in court so that the jury can examine his appearance and injuries for a fair judgment or conviction. It can lead to the defendant’s imprisonment and a felony charge.

Aggravated Battery of a Child

Aggravated battery of a child is a crime that comes under two laws. One deals with children who are under 13 years of age and the other pertains to the aggravated battery of an unborn child (from fertilization birth).
The former is a class X felony and the latter is a class 2 felony. Both carry hefty fines and penalties. Both felonies can lead to fines amounting to $25,000. The assault on a pregnant woman which leads to the loss of her child is treated as a separate crime. Judging on the facts surrounding the case, imprisonment is possible.

Simple Battery

In Chicago and throughout Illinois, a simple battery is a class A misdemeanor is the least serious of the types of battery charges out there. You can still end up with a one-year jail sentence, however, other types of battery charges can land you in prison for years. As discussed, a simple battery is called a criminal battery and refers to using force against another person. It can either result in harming the victim caused the contact to be insulting or provoking. The class A misdemeanor can include any form of insulting contact, regardless of the injury caused. An experienced defense attorney can give you more information about your case.

Assault vs. Battery

In Illinois, assault and battery are two completely different crimes. In other words, there is no crime that is called ‘assault and battery.’ Here is how these two crimes are different from one another.

In legal terms, assault is when an individual is threatened or is in fear of getting hit illegally. An individual can be charged with battery if he/she makes physical contact with a person with an intent to harm. In simple terms, an assault is when someone tells you that they are going to beat you up. Battery is when they follow through on that threat and actually beat you up.

The two offenses are connected but they don’t need to occur together. As listed under 720 ILCS 5/12-1, a person commits an assault when “he/she knowingly engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving batter.” Contact does not need to occur for an assault to occur. The very essence of this charge is putting another in fear of getting hit.

Here is a simple example that can help you understand the difference between these two crimes.

Mat is walking down a street with a beer can in his hand. Scott walks along the same street and is coming towards him. He sees Mat approaching him and gets anxious because Mat is known for being hot-tempered.

They walk past one another and nothing happens. In this case, Mat did not commit a crime because he has the right to walk down the street carrying beer in his hands. Scott’s fear was not the result of any threatening behavior displayed by him at the moment.

However, if say Mat draws back his fist when Scott gets near and threatens to beat him up for an alleged infraction, he is committing assault and Scott can press charges accordingly. In this case, Scott is reasonably fearful of the bodily harm Mat is saying he can do to him. If Mat catches up to him and punches Scott’s face after threatening to do so, he will be charged with both assault and battery charge.

The injury or injuries Mat causes can incriminate him and he can face imprisonment. In this case, he needs a strong defense attorney or face a serious sentence that may severely compromise his quality of life.

Get in Touch With Us at Goldman & Associates Today!

A battery charge can result in a serious jail sentence that may ruin your life. Our defense attorneys have the legal experience, knowledge, and determination to ensure the best defense for your particular case. If you are charged with a criminal offense, you need a defense attorney who will not back down in front of aggressive adversaries. Get in touch with us for an in-depth consultation today! We will answer all of your questions and detail the process we will implement for your particular case.

Call us 24/7 at (773) 484-3131

Get a Free Case Evaluation

Practice Areas

Our Blog