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DuPage County criminal defense attorney domestic abuse

Domestic disputes are an unfortunate reality of many people’s lives. Spouses, romantic partners, parents, children, or other family members often get into arguments, and these sometimes escalate to the point where one or more of the people involved do not feel safe. This has become even more of a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, since many families have been required to remain at home to prevent the spread of infection, and this close, constant proximity may lead to increased tensions between family members. When this is added to stress from the loss of a job, the requirement to provide childcare for children who cannot physically attend school, and other factors, it is no surprise that the rates of domestic violence have increased during this public health crisis.

An accusation of domestic violence can affect a person’s life in a variety of ways. In addition to potential criminal charges, an order of protection may also be issued, and this can have far-reaching consequences on the life of the accused, as well as other family members. It is important to understand how Illinois law approaches domestic violence and the steps a person can take to defend against these types of allegations.

Criminal Charges: Domestic Battery and Aggravated Domestic Battery

Accusations of domestic violence do not always lead to criminal charges, but when they do, the specific crime that a person may be charged with is known as domestic battery. This crime is typically charged if a person is accused of knowingly causing bodily harm to a family member or a person in one’s household. However, it can also apply in cases involving “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature,” which may include slapping, shoving, or simply poking a finger in someone’s chest. 

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IL defense lawyerEstimates suggest there are anywhere from 2 million to 4 million domestic assaults on women each year in the United States. That wide estimate range is due to the fact many cases go unreported. Violence involving current or former partners occurs in every age, racial, religious, and socioeconomic group. Unfortunately, many individuals are wrongly accused of domestic violence because they are in the midst of contentious divorce or family law proceedings. While domestic violence orders of protection are meant to help victims or potential sufferers, a vindictive former partner can also weaponize them in an attempt to sway the tone and eventual decisions in litigation.

If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, immediately contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can serve as your advocate and ensure the truth is not drowned out by false allegations.

Domestic Violence in Illinois

In Illinois, police strive to protect victims of domestic violence, which according to legal statute may be perpetrated by:

  • Family members related by blood;
  • Current and former spouses;
  • Parents, children, and stepchildren;
  • Individuals who formerly shared the same residence;
  • Persons currently in a relationship with or who previously dated or were engaged to the victim; and
  • Disabled individuals and their personal assistants.

Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic battery is that which causes bodily harm or involves physical contact to provoke or insult any family or household member. It is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to a year in jail and fine of $2,500. It escalates to a Class 4 felony if there is a previous conviction for domestic violence, violation of a protective order, or various other violent offenses. It can be charged as a Class 3 felony if a person has three prior convictions, or a Class 2 felony for four or more.

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