Domestic violence cases are rarely cut and dry. A domestic battery case may involve drug or alcohol abuse, mental health problems, and other serious issues. A domestic battery may involve children and a complicated relationship history that may be difficult to understand. In any event, in Illinois, domestic battery cases are seriously prosecuted and can involve a variety of penalties and consequences that may be unexpected. A recent case in Quincy, Illinois, demonstrates some of the facts that may aggravate a domestic battery case and the penalties and consequences that a convicted domestic batterer may face.

According to whig.com, 31-year-old Anthony Bell was involved in a domestic battery this year in April. On April 16, Mr. Bell was arrested after he choked a woman and threw her down a flight of stairs. The woman’s daughter witnesses the violence take place. Mr. Bell was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in addition to aggravated domestic battery for the choking.

Mr. Bell maintained his innocence throughout the prosecution of his case. However, a jury found Mr. Bell guilty of both of the charges after only one hour of deliberation. Mr. Bell spent 148 days in jail, and asked the judge to immediately release him at his sentencing hearing. While the Adams County Judge could have sentenced him to a prison term for up to seven years, on September 11, he ultimately sentenced Mr. Bell to four years of probation and 160 days in jail. The reason that Mr. Bell was able to avoid jail for probation was because he has no prior felonies on his record.

Although he won’t have to spend more than 12 more days in prison, the consequences of Mr. Bell’s conviction don’t stop at reporting for probation. Mr. Bell will have to attend domestic violence counseling, comply with an order of protection regarding the domestic violence victim, and will have to pay $4,937.93 in fines, $1,060.93 of which must be paid in restitution to the victim. In addition, he will now have a felony and misdemeanor charge on his record.

Illinois Battery Law

Under ILCS 5/12-3.2, a person commits domestic battery by either knowingly causing bodily harm to any family member or household member, or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family member or household member. Generally, these acts alone constitute a Class A misdemeanor charge. However, there are many circumstances under which a domestic battery can be elevated to a Class 4 felony charge, such as: if the defendant has a conviction for violation of an order of protection; if the defendant has been convicted of first degree murder; if the defendant has been convicted of aggravated domestic battery or a number of other violent felony crimes. Domestic battery may also be a Class 3 felony crime if the defendant had three prior convictions at the time he or she was charged with the most recent domestic battery.

There are numerous other provisions under Illinois domestic battery laws that may apply to an individual case. The best thing that a person can do if he or she is charged with domestic battery is to seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the facts of the case and determined the best defense strategy for the individual defendant. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.