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Assault & Battery

How Does Illinois Differentiate Between Battery & Domestic Battery in Skokie?

It is common to hear people use the terms assault and battery interchangeably. But under Illinois law, assault and battery are completely separate crimes. Unlike assault crimes, which involve words or threats, battery crimes require physical contact between the perpetrator and victim. Intentional and unwanted contact is necessary for battery to occur in Illinois. Additionally, state law differentiates between standard and domestic battery, depending on the relationship between the victim and perpetrator.

Battery and domestic battery cases in the north shore are handled at the Skokie Courthouse. All arrests made by police departments in Skokie, Northbrook, Glenview, Morton Grove, and Highland Park to name a few, are handled at the Skokie Courthouse. Crime in the north shore is taken more seriously in suburban courthouses than in Chicago, and resolving criminal cases in suburban areas can be more difficult.

How Does Illinois Define Battery?

720 ILCS 5/12-3 governs the Illinois laws concerning battery. Under this section, a person commits battery if they knowingly:

  • Inflict bodily harm on another person; or
  • Make physical contact with another person in an insulting or provocative way.

The knowledge requirement under Section 12-3 is extremely important in this context. A person must know – or have a reason to know – that they are inflicting harm or making insulting or provocative contact. Unintentional or mistaken contact rarely rises to the level of battery under Illinois law.

On a related note, Section 12-3 does provide an exception to battery crimes. If there is a legal justification for making physical contact or causing bodily harm, it does not necessarily qualify as a violation of Illinois law. For example, a police officer executing a lawful arrest or search can use reasonable force to carry out their official duties.

How Does Illinois Define Domestic Battery?

720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 provides the Illinois laws concerning domestic battery. The domestic version of this crime is almost identical to the standard version. The only difference is that domestic battery requires a family or household member relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.

The term family or household member has a specific definition under 720 ILCS 5/12-0.1. This term refers to person’s direct family members, including spouses, former spouses, parents, children, and other individuals related by blood or marriage. This term also includes people who live in the same dwelling or are engaged in a romantic relationship. Parents to a common child or children are also considered family or household members.

Illinois Punishment for Battery and Domestic Battery?

Section 12-3 also establishes the Illinois penalties for battery crimes. Traditionally, battery is a Class A misdemeanor. Upon conviction for this type of misdemeanor, the perpetrator can spend up to 364 days in jail and pay $2,500 in fines. This is the same for domestic battery, but domestic battery becomes a felony crime for repeat offenders, even if the previous offenses occurred outside of Illinois.

There is also one critical distinction between battery and domestic battery: An individual charged with battery can receive Court Supervision, while an individual charged with domestic battery cannot. Court Supervision in Illinois is a finding of guilty that is expungable. It is not a conviction and will not result in a permanent criminal record. Domestic battery, on the other hand, is not eligible for Court Supervision and the only applicable sentence is Conditional Discharge or Probation, which are both convictions and they are non-expungable and non-sealable. This could be disastrous for a suburban white collar professional that is looking to keep a clean record. Other penalties can include the loss of a FOID card.

Repeat offenders are much worse off. Any person who commits two or three domestic battery offenses is guilty of a Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison. A fourth offense is a class 3 felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison and subsequent offenses can see increased potential prison terms.