Understanding Assault and Battery Charges
Being arrested and charged with a violent crime can turn an individual's entire life upside down. Two of the most common violent crimes in Illinois are assault and battery. Assault and battery are often charged together. Even though the terms assault and battery are used in everyday language to mean the same thing, legally they are two very different concepts.
The Difference Between Assault and Battery
Under Illinois law, you commit the crime of assault when you place someone else in reasonable apprehension or fear of physical harm. You do not have to have actually harmed, or even touched, an individual to be charged with assault. Making a threatening gesture or raising a fist can be enough to result in assault charges.
Illinois law defines battery as knowingly causing bodily harm to another person or making contact with another person in an insulting or provoking way. Punching someone would be battery. Spitting in someone else’s face could also be considered battery.
Many times, prosecutors will charge an individual with both assault and battery on the theory that before hurting another, there is usually a threat or a threatening action.
Assault and battery are misdemeanor crimes, unless certain factors are present. In some cases, assault and battery can be charged as felonies and they become aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
An assault becomes an aggravated assault if the attacker knows the victim is physically handicapped, is over the age of 60, is a teacher or school employee, is a certain state employee and was in the performance of his or her duties, or is a police officer.
The location of the incident can also change an assault into an aggravated assault. If the incident takes place on a public way, public property, public place of accommodation or amusement, or a sports venue, then it is an aggravated assault.
If certain objects are used in an assault, then the incident will be charged as an aggravated assault. If the attacker uses a deadly weapon, firearm, or any device the looks substantially similar to a firearm, then he or she will be charged with aggravated assault.
Battery becomes aggravated battery in several different ways. If a hood or mask is used to conceal the identity of the attacker, then the crime becomes an aggravated battery. The more serious the injury, the more likely a crime will be charged as an aggravated battery. Like assault, if a deadly weapon or firearm is used, then the battery is charged as an aggravated battery.
The status of the victim can also lead to charges of aggravated battery. If the assailant knows the victim fits into one of the following categories, the crime becomes an aggravated battery:
- Physically handicapped;
- Over the age of 60;
- Teacher or school employee;
- Certain state employee while in the performance of his or her duties;
- Police officer;
- Intellectually challenged;
- Taxi driver;
- Merchant; or
A conviction for misdemeanor assault and battery is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail. Depending on the circumstances, conviction for aggravated assault or battery is punishable by maximum of five to 60 years.
Speak to an Experienced DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a violent crime like assault or battery, then you need to speak with an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney right away. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you speak to an attorney. You need to understand all of your options. Call Davi Law Group, LLC today to schedule a consultation at 630-580-6373.