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Tag Archives: violent crime

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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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyIn the state of Illinois, a battery is never taken lightly. When the victim is a woman, in some circumstances, punishments can be harsher. If the victim is a pregnant woman, the repercussions double. Not only are there charges for the attack on the woman, but also the child she is carrying. The crime then becomes twofold as aggravated battery and battery of an unborn child.

Aggravated Battery

Assault is a situation in which one person reasonably believes that they are in immediate danger of physical harm. The charge escalates to battery once physical contact occurs. Dependent on who the victim is and where the accident took place, the allegations may increase to aggravated battery. A woman who is pregnant is considered to be a part of the protected group. If the victim and the accused do not know each other but if the defendant knows that a person is pregnant, the charge elevates from battery to aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is a Class 3 Felony. Sentencing for such a crime would be:

  • At least two years up to five years of incarceration;
  • Extended sentences of up to 10 years; and
  • Fines of up to $25,000.

Unborn Victims of Violence Act

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insane or incompetent, DuPage criminal defense lawyerThere are a variety of ways that any court situation can come to a close. Ultimately, a typical verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty" will be issued at the end of a criminal court proceeding. However, other various defense mechanisms may be used in court if a client is unfit for trial. In some violent crime cases, a defense of "not guilty by reason of insanity" or finding someone "incompetent to stand trial" may be applicable to use in court. Although either may be useful given the right circumstances, they are not to be used interchangeably.

Incompetent to Stand Trial

To be considered competent, an individual must have the certain skills and abilities necessary to complete a task. With regards to a trial situation, competency is determined by the court. It is a matter of legal fact that is decided before a trial begins. A few of the prerequisites to be considered competent to stand trial include:

  • The individual must be able to demonstrate cognitive ability to understand what is happening in a courtroom.
  • The defendant must be capable of thinking rationally about court proceedings.
  • The person in question must be able to work closely with an attorney to assist in developing a defense for their case.

The information does not mean that if someone is incompetent to stand trial that they are given a free pass on their crimes. However, if they are found incompetent and the trial still proceeds, there are multiple options for appeal should he or she be found guilty.

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Wheaton criminal defense attorney, assault and battery chargesBeing arrested and charged with a violent crime can turn an individual's entire life upside down. Two of the most common violent crimes in Illinois are assault and battery. Assault and battery are often charged together. Even though the terms assault and battery are used in everyday language to mean the same thing, legally they are two very different concepts.

The Difference Between Assault and Battery

Under Illinois law, you commit the crime of assault when you place someone else in reasonable apprehension or fear of physical harm. You do not have to have actually harmed, or even touched, an individual to be charged with assault. Making a threatening gesture or raising a fist can be enough to result in assault charges.

Illinois law defines battery as knowingly causing bodily harm to another person or making contact with another person in an insulting or provoking way. Punching someone would be battery. Spitting in someone else’s face could also be considered battery.

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DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, violent crime, violent crime chargesViolent crimes carry some of the harshest penalties in the criminal justice system, and when when you are accused or charged with a violent crime, it can be overwhelming. However, there are several steps that occur between an investigation and a conviction. Therefore, if you have been charged with a violent crime, you need a lawyer who is willing to give you a vigorous defense.

Investigation and Indictment 

Because violent crimes often grab the most media attention, and because many prosecutors are dedicated to bringing violent criminals to justice as swiftly as possible, law enforcement often dedicates significant resources to investigating violent crimes. Still, this does not mean that mistakes are not made in the process.

If you are a suspect in a violent crime, the best opportunities for making a strong defense occur during the early stages of the investigation. Hence, you should never speak to law enforcement without your lawyer being present. Once you agree to talk, nothing can take those words back.

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