A person can commit aggravated battery in several ways under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05. Most of the definitions of aggravated battery have to do with the nature of the victim’s injuries or the kind of victim involved. Under one of these definitions, someone may be charged with aggravated battery when he or she, in committing a battery, knowingly and intentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to an person who is 60 years of age or older. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(1). This is also known as aggravated battery of a senior citizen. Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(4), a person may also be charged with aggravated battery for a crime against a senior citizen, however, under this subsection, the definition is based more on the victim’s injuries as opposed to age. It is important to contact a Chicago defense attorney for help if facing these charges.
During trial, in addition to proving the injuries to the victim, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant knew that the victim was over 60 years of age at the time of the aggravated battery under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(1). See People v. Jasoni, 974 N.E.2d 902, 910 (Ill. App. Ct. 2012). This knowledge is often proved through circumstantial evidence and not always direct evidence. Therefore, a defendant does not have to confess that he or she knew the victim was a senior citizen in order to be convicted. If the senior citizen testifies at trial, the judge or jury hearing the case would have an opportunity to observe his or her appearance and mannerisms. The judge or jury can then use this information to assess whether there was an indication of the senior citizen’s age at the time of the aggravated battery.
If the prosecution cannot prove that a defendant was aware of the victim’s age at the time of the battery, the prosecution may still charge the defendant with another kind of aggravated battery under Illinois law 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05. Depending on which section the prosecution charges under, the penalty may be more or less severe. For example, if the defendant is charged with just aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, if convicted, he faces sentencing for a lesser class 3 felony as opposed to the class 2 felony for aggravated battery of a senior citizen. Additionally, at sentencing for a crime of violence against a senior citizen, the court may use the victim’s age as an aggravating factor, and sentence the defendant more severely.
When a person causes physical injury to a senior citizen, it is also possible for him or her to be charged under several other Illinois laws. These laws include: battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3); Domestic Battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2) – if the senior is related to or lives in the same household as the person committing the domestic battery; criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person (720 ILCS 5/12-4.4a); and abuse and criminal neglect of a long-term care facility resident (720 ILCS 5/12-4.4a).
If you or a loved one is accused of the aggravated battery of a senior citizen, or another crime in which the alleged victim is a senior citizen, contact Chicago criminal defense attorney, Steven Goldman, for a consultation on your case.