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Chicago Domestic Violence Lawyer

Criminal Defense for Charges of Domestic Violence

In Chicago and across the state of Illinois, courts are particularly harsh on people suspected of acting violently towards a family member, significant other, ex or roommate. But whether you actually committed the crime or not, it sometimes seems secondary to the accusation itself, as the mere charge can affect how you are allowed to interact with your family and may affect other rights that you have. So do not wait another minute before asking for help. The longer you delay, the more you have to lose.

If you are reading this, then there's a good chance that you are facing some type of domestic violence charge. No matter how you ended up in this situation, you're probably quite concerned about what this may mean for you both personally and professionally. After all, unlike other criminal charges, domestic violence allegations carry with them a very specific kind of stigma. Domestic violence allegations don't quickly fade away. So, it's understandable if you're anxious to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

But you can't do it alone. Contact the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC immediately. Remember, you have rights and we will make sure that they are properly enforced. But it's up to you to take the first step. So contact one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at (800) 996-4824 for a free and confidential case consultation today.

What is Considered Domestic Battery in Chicago?

This is a question we encounter time and time again when it comes to domestic violence charges. Many people aren't even aware that what they did was considered a crime. But in the state of Illinois, physically touching another person – including spitting, pushing, or throwing a piece of food – can all be a "battery." If this contact happens between you and a family or household member, it can be considered "domestic battery." Keep in mind that the state defines family or household members to include:

  • Individuals who are a blood relation
  • Individuals who are married or are divorced
  • Individuals who share or used to share a domicile
  • Individuals who have, or allegedly have, a shared blood relationship with a child
  • Individuals that have or had a dating or engagement relationship beyond acquaintances
  • Individuals who operate as personal assistants or nurses to those with disabilities

As stated above, one does not have to cause bodily harm to another to be guilty of a battery. Any knowing or intentional touching of another person that is considered insulting or provoking is also a battery. When the alleged victim happens to be a household member, then it becomes domestic battery. The most important differences between domestic battery and "simple" battery are the potential penalties involved and the collateral consequences that may follow.

Punishment for Domestic Battery

A (regular) battery, whether it is a first offense, or a second or subsequent offense, is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of up to 364 days in Jail, or up to 24 months of probation, conditional discharge or court supervision. Supervision is a form of deferred sentencing, and successful completion of a period of supervision is NOT a conviction under Illinois Law. But domestic Battery, on the other hand, is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense only, and unlike Battery, supervision is NOT an option. Upon any finding of guilt on the charge, a court must impose a conviction against one’s record, whether it is a jail sentence, probation or conditional discharge.

  • If a person has been previously convicted of domestic battery on one or two occasions, then a subsequent charge may be a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, or up to 30 months of probation or conditional discharge.
  • If a person has been convicted 3 times in the past, the 4th is a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison, 30 months of probation, or conditional discharge.
  • A 5th or subsequent offense is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison, or up to 48 months of probation or conditional discharge.
  • Even if a person has never previously been convicted of a charge of domestic battery, if they have ever previously been convicted of almost any violent offense against a person who was a family or household member, the first domestic battery may be charged as a Class 4 felony.
  • A conviction for a second or subsequent offense carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 72 hours, which cannot be reduced.

Aggravated Domestic Battery in Chicago

If a person, without lawful justification, causes great bodily harm to, or permanent disability or disfigurement, or strangles, a family or household member, then that is considered to be Aggravated Domestic Battery, a Class 2 felony. Upon a first such felony conviction, in addition to any sentence of probation or conditional discharge, a person must serve 60 consecutive days in jail, with no reduction of the time served. A second or subsequent conviction for aggravated domestic battery must be sentenced to prison, either the standard 3 to 7 years, or if applicable, an extended term of 7 to 14 years.

Upon any conviction for domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery, the judge is required to inform you that you are subject to Federal prosecution if you possess, transport, or exercise control over any firearm or ammunition. So, if you have a FOID card, or a "conceal and carry permit" under these circumstances, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to retain them.

The law also punishes more severely those individuals that commit a felony domestic battery, an aggravated domestic battery, unlawful restraint or aggravated unlawful restraint against a family or household member in the presence of a child, and the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail or 300 hours of community service, or both. In addition, the court may order that the offender pay for the cost of the child’s counseling. A child in this context is defined as anyone under the age of 18 that is the offender’s child, the victim’s child or stepchild, or resides with or is visiting the offender’s or victim’s household.

What to Do If Charged with Domestic Violence in Illinois

First, it's important for you to know that the Chicago Illinois domestic violence attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC will use every resource at our disposal to represent your best interests in court. Because we are aware of the severe consequences of a conviction on the charge of domestic battery, a dismissal or reduction of your charges will always be our ultimate goal. We'll work tirelessly as we attempt to accomplish this. Domestic violence penalties can range from a misdemeanor with no jail to a serious felony with penitentiary time, and any finding of guilt on the charge will result in a permanent record of conviction that can never be expunged or sealed. That is why it's critical to speak with our defense team as soon as possible. Call (800) 996-4824 and schedule a free consultation to review your legal options today.

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