Domestic violence and domestic battery charges in the state of Illinois range from Class A Misdemeanors to Class 2 Felonies. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (720 ILCS 60) recognizes domestic violence as a serious crime, outlines the many interpretations of the charge, and describes law enforcement’s role in protecting citizens. Those individuals charged with domestic violence or domestic battery should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Relationships included in domestic violence
According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, this type of crime involves family or household members. Now, this covers a wide range of relationships. It includes everything from spouses to children to parents, and beyond. A domestic relationship could also mean:
- Two people who share or used to share a home
- Caregivers and the person for whom they are responsible
- Two people who are or were in a dating relationship
- Two people who have or allegedly have a child together
Domestic disputes reach far beyond domestic or romantic partnerships.
Types of violence
There are many versions of abuse the state of Illinois considers illegal under the Domestic Violence Act. These include, but are not limited to:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, choking, and all other forms of bodily harm
- Harassment, including threatening physical abuse, calling a person on their phone repeatedly, and repeatedly watching them while they’re in their home
- Intimidation of a dependent, which means forcing another person to participate in or watch abuse (even if this person isn’t a member of the household)
- Interference with personal liberty, which means preventing someone from doing something they have a right to do (like enter their own home) or forcing them to do something they don’t want to do
- Neglect, including failing to provide care for an adult with a disability who requires it
Again, some of these actions don’t jump to mind when thinking about domestic abuse. But, they are serious charges.
Law enforcement’s role
In cases of suspected domestic abuse, law enforcement officials do not need a warrant to make an arrest. Even if they were not present for an alleged crime, they can arrest a person if there is probable cause – which the arresting officer will also have to prove. An arrest can be made if the officer has reason to believe the defendant is in violation of their bail bond order, too.
Domestic battery vs. domestic violence
Similar to domestic violence, domestic battery focuses solely on physical contact. Under Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, a person commits domestic battery if he or she “causes bodily harm to” or “makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with” a family or household member. So, whereas you can be charged with violating the Illinois Domestic Violence Act for simply threatening or neglecting a person, battery only includes physical contact.
Charges for domestic violence and battery
On the first domestic violence offense, a person can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. This means the possibility of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 (counseling is also often required). If it is a person’s second or subsequent offense, or the event included a firearm, a child, or sexual abuse, the charge is upgraded to a Class 4 Felony. This is punishable by up to three years in jail and fines up to $25,000.
Note that a battery charge could also be upgraded to an Aggravated Battery charge which is a Class 2 Felony. This happens if a serious physical injury is the result of the altercation or a deadly weapon was used. Class 2 Felonies can result in three to seven years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.
Finally, if a victim has taken out an Order of Protection against an abuser, simply violating that order could result in a Class A Misdemeanor charge.
If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic abuse, domestic violence, or domestic battery, contact Richard at Fenbert and Associates for a free consultation.