Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Defending Clients against Assault and Battery Charges
Even though assault and battery are distinct criminal charge offenses, they often go hand-in-hand as defendants are usually charged with both offenses at the same time. Assault and Battery charges need to be taken very seriously, as they carry significant penalties. Any credible threat to a person is an assault while battery is defined as making physical contact with another person with the purpose to cause harm to them. In other words, assault is the attempt to commit battery.
Unlike a battery, an assault in the State of Illinois does not require harm. As a matter of fact, it does not even require a touching. Pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/12-1, a person commits assault when he places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery without justification. This essentially means, if you make someone reasonable believe that you could touch them unlawfully, it is an assault. Assault is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,500. While this is not as serious as battery charges, a conviction on an assault charge can lead to mandatory community service ranging from 30 to 120 hours. Assault can be enhanced from a class C misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor, as well as class 4 and class 3 felonies depending on the circumstances.
Assault is generally any type of threat that makes another person believe that he or she may be in danger. It may be possible to face assault charges without battery charges, if physical contact did not occur. Assault charges may include:
Battery charges can take several forms in Illinois. They can range from simple misdemeanors to felonies. Simple battery is the lowest form of battery and is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500. Other forms of battery would include Domestic Battery and Aggravated Battery, which is a felony.
Battery is defined as intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another person that does not have legal justification or consent. A battery offense requires all of the following:
- Intentional touching
- The touching must be harmful or offensive
- No consent from the victim
Battery charges may include:
In Illinois, a person commits misdemeanor battery if he:
- Knowlingly without legal justification by any means causes bodily harm to an individual; or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting of provoking nature.
Battery is codified in Illinois statute as 720 ILC 5/12-3. From this reading, a battery can occur from a harmless touching as long as it was unwanted by the other individual, including common touches like grabbing someone’s arm or bumping into them. The prosecution would have to show that the contact either caused harm, or was insulting or provoking. More often than not, there is no discernible injury in simple battery cases. The complainant either has no physical injury, did not need medical treatment, or did not take pictures of the injury. As such, prosecutors often will amend the complaint to reflect the second prong of the statute and argue that they need not show any injury, and only need to prove that the contact was insulting or provoking.
Penalties for Battery
Battery is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in the Illinois Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $2,500. Simple Battery is eligible for Court Supervision which is not a conviction. The Illinois legislature has made certain offenses in Illinois eligible for Court Supervision, which is a finding of guilty, but not a conviction. Since it is not a conviction, it is expungeable 2 years after the successful completion of Court Supervision. Unlike other forms of battery, such as domestic battery and aggravated battery, this option gives defendants the ability to enter a plea without a conviction with the opportunity of clearing their record in the future.
Domestic battery has the same elements of simple battery except the complainant has to be a family or household member. This is codified at 725 ILCS 5/12-3.2. On a first offense, this is a Class A misdemeanor, but it is not eligible for Court Supervision. Pursuant to Illinois Statutes, the minimum sentence for a charge of domestic battery is a conviction, which can never be sealed or expunged. In many cases of domestic battery, attorneys will seek a reduction of the charge to simple battery to receive court supervision instead of a conviction.
How to Defend Against a Battery Charge
There are several ways to defend against a battery charge.
- Consent – Since the contact has to either cause bodily harm or be insulting or provoking, consent to the contact may be a defense. For example, participation in a contact sport, such as football, would indicate consent to the touching in the form of a tackle.
- No Intent – There must be an intent for the touching in order to be found guilty of battery. So if the touching was accidental or incidental, this could be a defense to a charge of battery, depending on the circumstances.
- Self Defense – This is justified in certain situations to prevent someone else from attacking you. However, the self-defense has to be reasonable given the circumstances. An argument of self-defense will fail if the force used becomes excessive
- Insufficient evidence of a battery – This is the most frequently used defense for a battery case. Often times, the battery is not witnessed by anyone and there is little physical evidence to indicate that a battery occurred other than the word of the alleged victim. Proper preparation of the defendant for testimony at trial, as well as skillful cross-examination of the alleged victim are critical.
More severe cases of battery can rise to the level of a felony. For a battery to be upgraded to a felony, the State can demonstrate that either there was great bodily harm, strangulation, or the individual was 60 years of age or older, or was operating in his capacity as a peace officer, fireman, or private security officer, among other things. While these are the most common forms of aggravated battery, there are other ways for a felony upgrade, which are outlined in 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05.
Chicago Assault and Battery Lawyer Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges in Illinois
At Azhari LLC, we provide you with the advice and skilled counsel you need to help defend your legal rights. We are highly experienced attorneys who specialize in criminal defense law, including domestic violence cases. Contact Azhari LLC today if you or someone you know has been charged with an Assault and Battery charge because Assault and Battery are serious charges that require the counsel of a skilled criminal attorney. We take great pride in treating all of our clients with the utmost respect. The best thing is to have a skilled, reputable criminal attorney like Sami Azhari, who will aggressively defend and uphold your rights at every juncture so that your future, your freedom, and your reputation can be free from damage.
If you have questions regarding your assault and battery defense, contact us today for a free consultation at (312) 626-2871 or (847) 255-2100, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.