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Category Archives: Violent Crimes

Wheaton IL assault and battery defense lawyerIn common use, and in the laws of some states, the terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably. However, in Illinois, while they are often heard in conjunction with one another, they each have specific legal definitions and are considered separate crimes. So, what is the difference between assault and battery in Illinois?

Assault Charges in Illinois

According to Illinois law, you assault someone when you act in a way that leads them to fear that you will physically harm them or make unwanted physical contact. As a simple example, if you say to a person, “I’m going to hit you” and raise your hand to slap them, then that could be considered assault. Actual physical contact or injury is not necessary for a person to press assault charges.

Illinois Battery Charges

As you may have guessed, Illinois defines battery as causing someone actual physical injury. Specifically, a person commits battery when he or she “causes bodily harm” or makes “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature” with another person. If we alter the above assault example so that you actually hit the person instead of just threatening it, then it could be considered battery.

However, if you threaten to hit the person, make them think that you are going to hit them, and then make physical contact, then that could be considered both assault and battery.

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wheaton criminal defense lawyerAs is common throughout the United States, Illinois outlaws many forms of violent crime. If you are accused of a crime involving harm or attempted harm toward another person, the severity of the charges you face depends in large part on the circumstances surrounding the alleged criminal act. One factor that can significantly increase the severity of a criminal sentence is the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.

Deadly Weapons and Aggravated Offenses in Illinois

A number of crimes in Illinois become much more serious when a weapon is involved. Depending on the circumstances, a lesser misdemeanor can be increased to a greater misdemeanor or felony, or a felony can increase to one of the most serious charges under Illinois law. Here are just a few examples of crimes that are exacerbated when the perpetrator is armed:

  • Assault - The offense of assault involves knowingly putting someone in fear of being physically harmed. A basic assault charge in Illinois is a Class C misdemeanor, with up to 30 days of jail time and a $1,500 fine. However, using a firearm or deadly weapon in an assault is a Class A misdemeanor, and it can become a Class 4 felony or higher if the weapon is discharged. This could mean three years or more in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

  • Battery - Battery involves knowingly causing someone physical harm or making unwanted physical contact. It starts as a Class A misdemeanor, with up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. When a deadly weapon other than a gun is involved, it is a Class 3 felony. When the battery involves the discharge of a firearm, it is a Class X felony, one of the most serious offenses in Illinois, with a prison sentence of up to 30 years or more, depending on the circumstances.

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Wheaton, IL Domestic Battery Defense AttorneyBeing accused of committing a violent crime in Illinois is a very serious matter to deal with. Specific crimes of this nature can be considered to be domestic if they are committed against certain individuals. Domestic violence can often be difficult to detect, because many victims may be too scared to come forward. When accusations are made, however, they are taken very seriously, and they can lead to harsh punishments. This is why it is important to take immediate action if you are accused of committing a domestic crime.

Battery vs. Domestic Battery

Technically, battery and domestic battery are two different crimes in Illinois. For a battery crime to be considered domestic battery, the crime must have been perpetrated against a family or household member. The state of Illinois defines family or household members as people who have a certain relationship, including:

  • Parents and children
  • Individuals that have had a child together
  • Current or former spouses
  • Romantic partners
  • Family members by blood or marriage
  • People who currently live together or previously shared a home

What Is Domestic Battery?

Criminal charges of domestic battery can be filed if harm or physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature is inflicted upon a family or household member. Typically, domestic battery is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which means that a conviction could lead to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. If the person that is convicted has a history of violence, there is a possibility that the charges could be increased.

Aggravated Domestic Battery Charges

In some situations, domestic battery can be upgraded to aggravated domestic battery. The use of strangulation or the result of great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement could lead to charges being increased. Aggravated domestic battery is classified as a Class 2 felony, which means that a conviction could result in three to seven years of prison time alongside fines of up to $25,000.

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DuPage County violent crimes defense attorney

Some of the most common violent crimes in Illinois and throughout the United States are assault and battery charges. Statistics show that in 2017, there were an estimated 810,825 aggravated assaults in the United States. Although people often use these terms interchangeably in everyday conversation, they cannot be misused in the criminal justice realm. If you have suffered from a violent crime, it is important to understand how you have been victimized.

Assault and Aggravated Assault

In Illinois, a person can be guilty of assault if he or she knowingly engages in conduct that would lead another person to believe that physical harm could result. This means that contact does not have to be made for assault to be charged. For example, a verbal threat or a simple fist-raising can be enough to initiate an assault claim.

Although assault is classified as a misdemeanor crime, aggravated assault can be charged as a felony if certain factors are present. For example, the victim’s age and occupation could lead to penalties being more severe. In addition, the location of the assault can also increase the charges to aggravated assault. Locations such as a sports venue, public way, or public place of amusement or accommodation can all lead to aggravated assault charges.

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Wheaton IL assault charges defense attorneyIn the state of Illinois, all citizens have the right to protect themselves when they feel that they are in danger. This act is called self-defense and can sometimes be a person’s only option if put in situations where there is the threat of harm to oneself, his or her property, or other people. 

Every state has its own laws pertaining to self-defense, Illinois included. Self-defense is commonly used to defend against assault or aggravated assault charges in Illinois, but there are certain things that must be proven in order to successfully claim self-defense. 

Many people are surprised at how difficult asserting this defense can be. If you have been charged with assault or aggravated assault and you believe you acted in self-defense, you should understand Illinois’ laws on the matter and seek qualified legal counsel.

Defending Yourself

According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, using force against another person can be justified if you reasonably believe that your actions were necessary to defend yourself or another person against the use of unlawful force. To prove you acted in self-defense, you must prove that:

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