Domestic Battery and its Serious Consequences
When charged with a domestic battery, you are faced not only with the judgement of the courts but the stigma that it carries and the permanent effects on your future. A domestic battery charge carries with a minimum of 72 hour stay away from your spouse, partner, family and even your home. The duration of this stay away can even be up to the entirety of your case or longer depending on if an order of protection was granted pursuant to the domestic violence. If you are a gun owner or seeking to own a gun, a domestic battery charge will prevent you from obtaining a gun license or worse, revoke your license indefinitely. For immigration purposes, a domestic battery conviction can lead to deportation consequences. Therefore, if you are charged with a domestic battery, it is absolutely imperative to hire an attorney that has experience handling domestic violence cases, like Mr. Erwin.
Domestic Battery defined in Illinois
There are two types of domestic battery offenses in Illinois. The first occurs when you cause bodily harm to any family or household member. The second occurs by making contact of an insulting and provoking nature with any family or household member. With both types of domestic battery, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action was committed intentionally or knowingly, and without legal justification.
Who is considered a “family or household member” under Illinois law?
A family or household member includes the following persons:
Spouses or former spouses
Parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage
Persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling
Persons who have or allegedly have a child in common
Persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child
Persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship
Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants and caregivers
What do I face with a Misdemeanor Domestic Battery?
In Illinois, a first offense domestic battery is usually a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in the county jail and a maximum fine of up to $2,500. More importantly, a domestic battery charge is not eligible for court supervision and therefore, a conviction for domestic battery is permanent and cannot be expunged or sealed from a defendant’s record. A domestic battery conviction can be viewed by the public, employers, credit agencies, schools, government, landlords, etc. Because of this, domestic battery is often considered to be more serious than other misdemeanors.
When is a Domestic Battery a Felony?
A domestic battery can be charged as a Class 4 felony if the defendant has a previous conviction for domestic battery, has violated an order of protection, or other aggravating factors are present. A Class 4 felony conviction for domestic battery can carry a possible prison sentence of 1 to 3 years in jail. However, Probation, or Conditional Discharge are alternatives to jail.
Another and more serious felony charge for domestic battery is called Aggravated Domestic Battery. In Illinois, Aggravated Domestic Battery occurs when you cause great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another family or household member. A second way you can be charged with Aggravated Domestic Battery if you “strangle” someone during the Domestic Battery. “Strangle” is defined as intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of an individual by applying pressure on the throat or neck of that individual or by blocking the nose or mouth of that individual.
Aggravated Domestic Battery is a Class 2 felony which carries a possible prison sentence of between 3 to 7 years. Probation is possible for an Aggravated Domestic Battery, however, in addition to any sentence imposed by the Court, if you are convicted of an Aggravated Domestic Battery you must serve a minimum of 60 continuous days in the county jail. If this is your second or subsequent conviction for Aggravated Domestic Battery, you will not be eligible for probation and must serve between 3 to 7 years in prison. Aggravated Domestic Battery is a very serious charge because a conviction for this offense carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 60 continuous days.
Are there any defenses? Why hire an attorney?
There are several possible defenses to domestic battery, the most common being self-defense. Additionally, depending on the circumstances and your history, you may be eligible for a Diversion Program that would keep a conviction off your record. The right defense attorney will carefully examine all possible defenses and determine the best course of action for you. Most importantly, it is essential to retain a criminal defense attorney that understands the seriousness of a domestic battery charge and has the experience needed to possibly avoid a damaging conviction.
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony domestic battery, a conviction for domestic battery can have a long-lasting and significant impact on your life. The right attorney is crucial for your defense, therefore, do not wait, contact Mr. Erwin at 847-977-6298 to discuss your rights and ensure your freedom.