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DuPage County criminal defense attorney domestic abuse

The COVID-19 crisis has been a global emergency, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of hospitalizations in the United States alone. In addition to creating health concerns, the pandemic has affected many other aspects of our lives. The ongoing upheaval people are experiencing has led to concerns about increases in the rates of domestic violence. Those who have been accused of committing these types of crimes will want to work with a criminal defense attorney to understand the nature of the charges they may face and their best strategies for defense.

Domestic Violence During the Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on everyone’s lives, its full effects will probably not be understood for at least several years. Advocates have raised concerns about the possibility that domestic violence may increase due to a variety of factors. Financial stress due to job losses, as well as difficulties dealing with issues such as school closures, have caused increased tension in some households. Disagreements between spouses, partners, or other family members may get out of control, leading to claims that one person has committed acts of assault or abuse. In addition to these concerns, requirements to stay at home and avoid social gatherings may have isolated some victims of abuse, leaving them with few options to leave a dangerous situation. 

While hard data showing whether domestic violence has increased during the pandemic has not yet been compiled and analyzed, some studies have indicated that instances of violence have been on the rise. Calls to the Illinois domestic violence hotline have increased, with the largest number of calls occurring during the stay-at-home order that took place between March and May of 2020, as well as in the month after the order was lifted. However, some studies have shown that the rates of domestic violence as a whole in the United States have fallen by 50 percent during the pandemic, although some advocates believe that this is because victims are not reporting incidents or are unsure about the resources that are currently available to them.

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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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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 domestic violence charges defense lawyerDomestic violence is a crime that Illinois courts take very seriously. Even if you did not actually commit the act of domestic violence, these charges can be detrimental to your life and your reputation. If you have an order of protection against you, it could make your life extremely difficult. There are many things that an Illinois order of protection can order you to do or prohibit you from doing. It is important to understand what orders of protection mean for you if you are facing Illinois domestic violence charges.

What is Domestic Violence?

According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, domestic violence is when any family or household member commits any act of abuse toward another family or household member. Family or household members include:

  • Spouses or former spouses;
  • Parents, children and stepchildren;
  • Former or current housemates;
  • Former or current dating or engaged couples;
  • People with a child in common; and
  • People with disabilities and their caregivers.

Acts of abuse include:

  • Physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing, shoving, biting or others;
  • Harassment, such as following you, creating disturbances at your school or work, or preventing you from seeing your child;
  • Forcing you to do something you do not want to do; or
  • Forcing you to have sex.

Effects of Orders of Protection

If an order of protection is entered against you, there are certain things that the order can require you to do and prohibit you from doing. These things can include:

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Battered Woman Syndrome, PTSD,  domestic violence, repeated domestic abuseVictims who endure prolonged, severe and numerous episodes of domestic violence frequently have physical, mental, or emotional damages. In many cases, the psychological trauma lasts longer than the physical symptoms.

Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression are all commonly observed in domestic violence survivors. Another consequence stemming from the trauma is Battered Woman Syndrome, which can either make the injured party endure the abuse without retaliation or defend themselves, so the violence ends indefinitely.

The Stages of Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS)

Battered Woman Syndrome is now regarded as a form of PTSD and is accepted legally as a psychological disorder. Over time, the sufferer becomes so depressed and defeated that he or she begins to believe he or she alone is the cause of the abuse and there is no way to escape it. This learned helplessness can convince a victim to stay an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes, the individual remains because he or she hopes his or her abuser will change. This belief originates from the conditioning from “honeymoon phase” of the abuse cycle, which is:

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