When you’re up against criminal charges, you’re facing something that can change your life. The way your family and friends see you can be permanently altered, not to mention the impact it can have on your future career or education.
When facing charges for domestic violence, the impact on your life can be even more significant. That’s why, if you are accused of these types of charges, it is very important that you take them seriously.
Under the law in Illinois, domestic violence must be proven against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Typically, that means prosecutors must show evidence that the crime you are accused of occurred and that you did it. To do that, eyewitness testimony and physical evidence are used to prove the case against you.
Here is how prosecutors and law enforcement piece together the evidence to make a case for domestic violence against you, something important to understand if you’re facing these types of charges.
What Is Domestic Violence in Illinois?
Domestic violence is a crime in its own category because of who it is perpetrated against. In Illinois, the victim of the offense must be someone who is considered a member of your household or your family. This includes:
- Anyone you’ve been married to or currently are married to
- People related to you by blood or marriage such as parents, children, and stepchildren
- Those with whom you have shared a home or currently do
- Anyone you share a child with
- Anyone you’ve dated or been engaged to
- The disabled and their caregivers
The acts committed against these groups of people are considered to be crimes of domestic violence in the state.
Evidence Is a Requirement in IL Domestic Violence Cases
Those accused of domestic violence will need an experienced attorney to represent them and help them to formulate a proper defense. The main factor in being found guilty in a case is the evidence that is presented against you.
There are several types of evidence that can be submitted in a case involving domestic violence. The most common include:
- History – If you have a history of domestic violence or they have witness testimony of your actions against the victim or phone calls you’ve placed where you’ve made threats, for example, then that can be used against you in court.
- Physical evidence – Medical records, photos of injuries, or even photos of items damaged during an incident can all count as other types of physical evidence used in the case.
- Police reports – The statements taken by police record whether someone was threatened or hurt, and whether or not you were arrested.
- The victim – The person who you are accused of perpetrating domestic violence against is central to a case against you. They may be asked to testify, but even if they refuse then other evidence from them is often submitted, such as their statement to the police.
Evidence in court has to be proven beyond what is considered a reasonable doubt in order to be used against you.
However, it is possible to call the validity of the evidence against you into question. This is where building a strong defense comes in.
How To Defend against Illinois Domestic Violence Charges
Your best bet is to work with an experienced domestic violence attorney. He or she will be able to look at the domestic violence case against you and analyze the evidence to fully understand the situations that took place and the charges that stemmed from them. Then they can use this information to create a defense that is right for your case.
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.