A charge of domestic battery in Illinois is an accusation that should not be taken lightly. If found guilty of domestic violence crimes, you could face jail and/or time and fines; along with other penalties that will negatively affect your future. If you face domestic violence charges in Illinois, you need a defense lawyer who will listen to you and work to understand your case. Prosecutors and Judges will seek harsh penalties with cases of violence if found guilty. This can make it very difficult for those accused of these crimes. You need an advocate who will stand by your side, contact a domestic violence defense attorney at Goldman & Associates today to explore your options and fight for your freedom and legal rights.
Domestic battery occurs under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, when a person knowingly and without legal justification:
- Causes bodily harm to a family or household member; or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal harassment
- Child abuse/ neglect
- Domestic violence is defined as a family member of a household causing harm to another member of the household. Parties in these types of cases do not have to be blood related or married; charges can be filed between roommates, unmarried couples and adopted or foster children.
Who is a Family or Household Member?
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60/101) defines a family or household member is anyone who shares one or more of the following relationships with the person committing the domestic battery:
- Spouse or a former spouse;
- Parents and people who share a common child;
- Children or stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage;
- People who share or formerly shared a common dwelling;
- Persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child;
- Currently and previously dating or engaged couples (casual acquaintances and similar relationships do not qualify as dating for the purposes of this definition); and
- Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers.
The precise definition of a family or household member is important during prosecution. A court can interpret the relationship depending on the facts of a case to determine if it fits in the above definition. For example, Illinois courts have held that a woman living in her boyfriend for a matter of weeks before the domestic battery incident were sharing a dwelling. On the other hand, a couple who lived in a homeless shelter was not “sharing a dwelling” for purposes of the domestic violence law. (People v. Young, 362 Ill. App. 3d 843, 844 (2005).)
During a divorce or separation of a couple, false domestic violence charges are sometimes filed. Often, by an individual who is trying to gain custody of children in a divorce or as “revenge” for infidelity. The majority of Domestic Violence cases have charged the man as the “aggressor” and the woman as the “victim.” However, in recent years, more and more men have been coming forward as victims of violence. Due to increased awareness, it is becoming evident that men are just as likely to be victims as women.
Orders of Protection
Victims of domestic violence can ask a court for an order of protection against the person accused of the domestic violence. Domestic battery can qualify as domestic violence. Once issued against a particular person, that person has to follow the requirements of the order of protection, or risk arrest. Violating an order of protection is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.4.
Recent amendments to the Domestic Violence Statutes now allow for the automatic issuance of an Order of Protection based upon the mere fact that someone as been arrested for a Domestic Battery. The issuance of the Order or Protection will take place even before any evidence is heard by the judge and before you can even defend yourself! The Illinois Statute allows for the immediate issuance during the pendency of the criminal case.
Domestic battery is usually a class A misdemeanor which carries up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $2,500. The minimum sentence for this charge is a conviction, which cannot be expunged or sealed. In other words, a misdemeanor conviction of domestic battery remains on a person’s permanent criminal record. Unlike other misdemeanors, a defendant charged with a domestic battery is not eligible for court supervision.
However, if you are a second time offender or there is some “aggravation” (meaning more serious facts) regarding your actions, the charges will be considered a felony instead of a misdemeanor. This felony could be a class 4 felony and up to a class 2 felony.
If a defendant is convicted of a second or subsequent domestic battery charge, he or she has to serve a mandatory 72 hours in jail, in addition to other sentences that the court may order. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(b).
If a person commits a domestic battery in the presence of a child, the person faces additional penalties, including being ordered to pay for any counseling the child may need, as determined by the court. The defendant may also be required to serve 300 hours of community service, or 10 days in jail or both. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(c).
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you are charged with domestic battery or have been arrested for violating an order of protection, you need an experienced criminal attorney representing you. Punishment for these charges has become increasingly serious over the last few year and judges do not usually let offenders get off easily for domestic abuse charges. Don’t let accusations of domestic violence determine your future. Protect your rights and contact a trusted domestic violence defense attorney from Goldman & Associates today at 773.484.3131.