Domestic violence allegations and charges are very serious, and oftentimes they can be brought upon a person without much concrete evidence outside of a he said, she said argument. Nobody should be victimized by domestic assault, but on the other side of the coin, a person shouldn’t have their life ruined over false allegations or embellished accounts of an incident. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the penalties for domestic assault in Illinois, what factors can result in felony-level charges, and common defenses to domestic assault charges.
Penalties For Domestic Violence In Illinois
Under Illinois law, basic domestic battery is considered a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500. The law states that domestic battery occurs when a person commits an act of physical violence towards someone with whom they have a familial or intimate relationship. You can also be charged with misdemeanor domestic battery if you have contact with a family or household member in an insulting or provoking nature, although this is the less common form of the crime.
These penalties are severe, and because of the nature of the crime, Illinois does not allow this conviction to be expunged or sealed from a defendant’s record. Moreover, if certain factors are present, the crime can quickly transition from a misdemeanor to a felony-level offense. Aggravating factors that could lead to upgraded charges include:
- Incidents involving a minor
- Violent acts committed with a weapon or with the threat of a weapon
- Acts involving sexual abuse
- Acts that cause great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement
- Acts that involve strangulation
- Previous convictions for domestic violence
Felony convictions for domestic battery can lead to increased fines and up to three years in jail, so you absolutely need to have a lawyer by your side if you’re facing any type of domestic violence charge.
Domestic Violence Defenses
When it comes to fighting a criminal charge of domestic violence, it may not be enough to simply deny the allegations. Denying that the incident took place is one possible defense, but other defenses that can help put you in a more favorable light and beat the charges include:
- Self Defense – If you physically assaulted the other person only because they were threatening your safety or the safety of your family, you may be able to get the charges dropped on the basis of self defense.
- Accident – If you injured another party by accident or due to unintentional actions, you may be able to get the case thrown out.
- Lying/Embellishment – If the other side is lying or embellishing the story to put you in a less favorable light, you can get the charges dropped if you can prove that some or all of their story was fabricated.
These are just a few of the common defenses, but we’ll also look at the totality of the circumstances when planning your defense. If your ex has threatened to report a fake assault in the past, or you’re currently going through a custody dispute, these things can factor into your defense and the judge’s decision. We’ll analyze all the factors and put together the best defense for your individual case. For more information on how we’ll do this, or to set up a free case review with one of our attorneys, contact Appelman & Lloyd today.