The most serious misdemeanor offense you can face in Illinois is Domestic Battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2). Only a DUI (625 ILCS 5/11-503) may jeopardize your career, family circumstances, and personal life as much as a conviction for Domestic Battery. For example, a conviction for Domestic Battery makes you ineligible for a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID), which is required in Illinois to legally possess a firearm.
According to Illinois State law, a person commits domestic battery if he or she intentionally or knowingly without legal justification by any means:
- Causes bodily harm to any family or household member; or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member
A first offender will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. This offense can carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
However, domestic battery is considered a Class 4 felony if the defendant has been previously been convicted of similar crimes, including, but not limited to:
- First degree murder (Section 9-1);
- Attempt to commit first degree murder (Section 8-4);
- Aggravated domestic battery (Section 12-3.3);
- Stalking (Section 12-7.3);
- Criminal sexual assault (Section 12-13), kidnapping (Section 10-1); or
- Unlawful restraint (Section 10-3)
Additionally, this charge is considered “aggravated” when a person “intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement” while committing domestic battery. Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony that carries a stiffer penalty.
A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally and without legal justification caused bodily harm to a household member, or threatened to do so. A defense attorney may be able to review the details of your case and find that you were practicing self-defense, a legally justifiable means of protecting yourself.
If you are facing a domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery charge in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to a defense attorney to assist you with your case. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.