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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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Illinois criminal defense lawyersAssault of any kind is a serious offense in the state of Illinois, but the consequences will often depend on the severity of the charge. For example, is the charge related to assault charges or aggravated assault charges? Learn what the differences are between the two, including how they vary in terms of potential consequence, with help from the following information.

Assault in Illinois

The law states that assault is an act in which one causes another person to believe they may be at risk for battery (physical harm). There does not need to be any evidence of harm, nor is one required to make physical contact with a person to be accused of assault. Instead, one can be charged with this act by shaking their fist in someone’s face, threatening them with words or body movement, or otherwise causing them to fear they may be in danger of bodily harm.

Straight and basic assault charges are typically considered a Class C misdemeanor. Consequences may include imprisonment for up to 30 days, fines, and possibly even a no-contact orders with the victim. However, individuals who have previous convictions or are charged with aggravated assault may face more serious consequences if they are eventually found guilty.

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DuPage County criminal defense lawyersAssault charges are considered a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Illinois. They can result in fines, fees, and imprisonment. In addition, your reputation, employment, and housing may be at risk. Learn more about the potential consequences of an assault charge in Illinois, and discover how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight against them.  

Defining Assault Charges

Often, defendants assume they can win their case because they did not physically attack another person. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, assault charges do not have to include physical contact with another person. Instead, you can be charged with assault, simply for causing someone to believe they are at risk of physical harm. Examples might include shaking your fist in someone’s face or throwing an object in the direction of another person with the intent to threaten. Aggravated assault is a heightened offense, and it involves threatening another person with a deadly weapon (i.e. knife, gun, vehicle, etc.).

Criminal Consequences of Conviction

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Wheaton assault defense attorney, assault chargesThe First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects our rights to free speech, so you can say whatever you would like, right? Not necessarily. There are a few caveats associated with your freedom of expression. Others also have the right to feel safe. Therefore, government officials have the right to step in if your speech incites violence or violates peace. However, the perception of fear varies from person to person. If the words that leave your mouth cause an overly-sensitive individual to fear for his or her life, then are you susceptible to assault charges?

Sticks and Stones

Physical contact may leave lasting, visible marks on a human body. However, words can be just as powerful. The words we use, assisted by body language and voice inflection, can cause powerful emotional reactions in those around us. For this reason, assault charges are not reliant on actual contact, but the feelings provoked in others. Each state defines assault differently. In Illinois, assault is:

  • Engaging in conduct that allows someone else to believe that he or she is in danger of a physical attack (battery);
  • The victim's fearful response must be reasonable and genuine;
  • Any other reasonable person would also be in fear of an immediate battery;
  • The verbal attack must intend to cause fear; and
  • Behavior and voice inflection must show intent to attack.

Does Sensitivity Matter?

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney, domestic violence and assaultViolence seems to occur everywhere today—in the mainstream media, in workplaces, and in your own home. Many people blame various sources: added stress, alcohol or drug use, or even because an individual simply snapped. The reasoning is limitless and the factors that trigger anger are different for everyone.

Laws do not handle violence cases lightly in the state of Illinois. In fact, they can be dealt with in a very harsh manner. Furthermore, domestic violence and assault charges are very different and are also susceptible to different penalties.

What is Assault and Aggravated Assault?

As with the vast majority of criminal charges, there are varying degrees of severity. The same holds true with assault and aggravated assault, which are both different from domestic violence. 

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