In Illinois, domestic violence is taken very seriously. That’s why the law explicitly defines what sort of actions constitute domestic violence – and what do not.
Sometimes, arguments can get heated, or situations can boil over. This may result in a person reacting in a way that they may not have otherwise. Acts like slapping or shoving may occur, but can those actions, specifically shoving, be considered domestic violence?
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence, including domestic battery, in Illinois.
Domestic Battery in Illinois
When you take an action against a member of your household or family member in Illinois, it can be considered a crime of domestic violence – more specifically, domestic battery. Simple actions like shoving a partner or family member who are in the way, trying to block someone from leaving, harassing someone, or getting in someone’s face – any of these can get you charged with domestic battery.
These types of actions can be interpreted by the law as acts of domestic battery in Illinois:
- Threats of harm
- Acts of intimidation
- Sexual abuse
Under the law, domestic battery is perpetrated if a person knowingly and without any legitimate excuse causes bodily harm to a household or family member – or makes contact with them physically in a provoking or insulting nature.
So, you don’t even have to harm someone in order to be charged with domestic battery for performing any of the above acts. It’s the simple act of making physical contact with them that counts. That can be enough to have you found guilty in the court of law.
The only catch in this law is who the act was perpetrated against. In order for it to be domestic violence, it must be against someone in your family or household. That includes:
- Those you are related to by blood or marriage
- Anyone you share a child with
- Your current spouse or ex-spouse
- Anyone who is your roommate or has been in the past
- Disabled adults and their caregivers
- Elderly adults and their caregivers
- Your children or stepchildren
Penalties for Domestic Battery
In the state of Illinois, domestic battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to one year in jail and be required to complete probation. You may also be required to pay fines of as much as $2,500.
Domestic battery can be elevated to a Class 4 felony under certain circumstances, for example:
- If it occurred because a protective order was being violated
- A murder was being attempted
- There was stalking
- Sexual assault
- Arson involved
- Other aggravating factors were present
Also, it can be a Class 4 felony if the accused has two or more prior domestic battery convictions. For Class 4 felonies, a person can serve up to three years in prison and be responsible for fines of as much as $25,000.
If the accused has three prior domestic battery convictions, then it can be elevated to a Class 3 felony, which can send a person to prison for up to five years. For 4 or more past domestic battery convictions, a Class 2 felony can be charged, resulting in up to seven years of incarceration.
Domestic battery can have serious consequences. So if you’re confronting charges for shoving someone in your household or family that qualifies as domestic battery, then make sure to have an experienced attorney on your side.
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.