Domestic violence is an issue that concerns lawmakers and peace officers alike in Illinois. Fighting between family members or members of the same household is a problem that occurs frequently – leading to arrests and, ultimately, charges for serious offenses such as domestic battery.
Domestic disputes conjure images of people having confrontations in their own homes. But the truth of the matter is that domestic violence isn’t defined by where it takes place – rather, it is defined by who enacts it. That’s why, as a crime, it isn’t relegated to happening just in the home.
Everyone should strive to learn more about domestic violence and how the state of Illinois treats domestic violence crimes. If you’re facing charges for a crime of domestic violence, it’s even more important to understand what those changes mean and what your rights are in the situation. Read on to find out more about domestic violence in Illinois.
How Does Domestic Violence Occur?
Domestic violence and associated crimes, such as domestic battery, occur between certain groups of people. It’s what distinguishes this crime from other crimes, such as simple assault – who the perpetrator is and what their relationship is to the victim.
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 made domestic violence a serious crime and also defined the relationships that turn an act into one of domestic violence. Under this law, crimes against members of the household and the family are considered domestic violence crimes.
Household and family members are defined as:
- Anyone who is married or has been married
- Anyone who shares a child
- Anyone who is dating or has dated in the past
- Anyone who shares a place to live
- Caregivers and those for whom they are responsible
What Types of Crimes Constitute Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence isn’t just one crime. It’s a myriad of acts that the state considers to be abuse. The types of acts that will commonly lead to domestic violence charges include:
- Bodily harm through hitting, physical abuse, or choking
- Threats and harassment
- Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do – or not allowing them to leave
- Failing to provide care
It doesn’t matter where these crimes occur – they can happen at home, in public, or even in a hotel. What gets a person charged with domestic violence crimes is who the crimes are perpetrated against, not where they take place.
There are a couple of frequent crimes that are associated with domestic violence. These crimes are called domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery.
Domestic battery is defined as causing bodily harm to a member of your household or family intentionally through provocative or insulting physical contact. This is a Class A misdemeanor in some cases. It can be elevated to a Class 4 felony in cases where the person accused has prior domestic battery convictions or has previously violated an order for protection.
Domestic battery can result in a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and fines of $2,500 for a misdemeanor, or up to six years behind bars and a fine of $25,000 if it’s a Class 4 felony.
Aggravated domestic battery, on the other hand, is more serious. It involves the disfigurements, great bodily harm, or permanent disability of the victim. Any situation where a person is strangled during the events of domestic battery is also considered aggravated.
This is a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by a minimum penalty of three years in prison if the defendant has prior convictions. If the judge decides on probation or conditional discharge, then the defendant has to spend a minimum of two months in jail before those sentences can begin.
What Are Protective Orders?
Another term you hear in conjunction with domestic violence in Illinois is a protective order. In cases involving domestic violence, the victim can petition the court for an order of protection, which works to keep the persona accused of abusing away from them. They are not allowed at their home, their place of employment, or even around their children.
There are several different types of protective orders, from emergency orders that last for a brief period to longer orders that can last for years. Violating an order of protection is a crime itself and is considered a Class 4 felony.
Domestic violence is a crime that occurs in a variety of settings, not just in the home. If you are accused of committing a crime of domestic violence against someone in your household or family, then the charges can be brought whether you were in your own home or not.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.