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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 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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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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