When the Law Gets Involved in Your Skokie Domestic Dispute
Domestic deputes can turn serious, even in the family-friendly setting of Skokie, Illinois. When someone decides to contact law enforcement about your altercation and a domestic battery charge results, you could find yourself facing incredibly severe consequences — including high fines and jail time.
Worse, domestic violence tends to be a politically charged subject, and this charge is often pursued aggressively by prosecutors. If you are convicted of domestic battery, it will have a huge negative impact on your life, career, and reputation.
For this reason, if you have been accused of this crime, you should not attempt to represent yourself — even if you believe the charges are unfounded. Instead, you need to consult with an experienced Skokie domestic violence attorney to give yourself the best chance at avoiding serious consequences.
With his years of experience handling domestic violence cases in Skokie and beyond, Sami Azhari is that attorney. Let him help you to minimize the consequences you face and work to have your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped altogether.
Where Does Domestic Battery Fall in the Broader Spectrum of Domestic Crimes in Skokie, Illinois?
Domestic violence is a broad term to describe a variety of crimes between what Illinois law defines as “family or household members.” These include stalking, sex crimes, assualt and battery, kidnapping, and murder. Domestic battery is a type of domestic violence, though not all forms of domestic violence are considered battery.
Under Chapter 38, section 12-3.2, of the Illinois Statutes, domestic battery occurs when an individual either:
(1) Causes bodily harm to any family or household member;
(2) Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member
“Bodily harm” is typically understood as attacking and causing physical pain or injury to another person’s body. Even minor injuries like bruises, redness, or scrapes can serve as evidence of bodily harm.
However, an injury does not need to be present to meet the criteria for domestic battery. Contact of an insulting or provoking nature—such as spitting or slapping—may also qualify for a domestic battery charge
These actions must be knowingly committed, and without any cause justified under the law. For example, an act of self-defense may not be considered battery, so long as the degree of force used is deemed reasonable for the circumstances.
Additionally, the state’s definition of “family or household members” is not strictly limited to individuals currently living together or relatives by blood and marriage. It encompasses a number of different possible relationships between the alleged perpetrator and victim, including:
- Family members
- Step-family members
- Unmarried individuals who share a child
- Roommates and former roommates
- Former and current romantic partners
- Persons with disabilities and their caregivers or assistants
What are the Consequences of a Skokie Domestic Battery Conviction?
Domestic battery is a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois, the most serious degree of a misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, up to one year of probation, and up to $2,500 in fines. These may also be accompanied by court-ordered programs and/or restraining orders placed on behalf of the victim.
However, if the accused has certain prior convictions, domestic battery charges are upgraded to various degrees of felony. A charge of domestic battery can be upgraded to a class 4 felony, for example, if the accused has prior domestic battery convictions, or has been convicted of other
similar violent crimes in the past.
“Similar violent crimes” include but are not limited to:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Predatory sexual assault of a child
- Aggravated discharge of a firearm
- Aggravated stalking
- Attempted murder
- Unlawful restraint
- Aggravated arson
- Violating an order of protection
A class 4 felony is punishable by up 1-3 years of incarceration and fines of up to $25,000.
With prior additional domestic battery convictions comes increasingly severe felony charges and mandatory minimum sentences. Three prior convictions of domestic battery will result in a Class 3 felony, punishable by a prison sentence of between two and five years and a fine of up to $25,000. After four priors, it becomes a Class 2 felony, which carries a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail, six to seven years of prison, and a fine up to $25,000.
Certain other factors may result in more serious charges as well, such as if a child was present during the battery, or if a restraining order was violated in the act of battery. For example, felony domestic battery in front of a child will require the defendant to serve a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days, perform 300 hours of community service, or both.
Aggravated Domestic Battery
Aggravated domestic battery is essentially a more severe form of domestic battery. It occurs when the defendant commits domestic battery that permanently disfigures or disables the victim, or causes them great bodily harm. Strangling during the act of domestic battery also qualifies as aggravated domestic battery.
Aggravated domestic battery is a class 2 felony, and requires a mandatory minimum incarceration of 60 days. Any prior convictions of aggravated battery result in a minimum sentence of three years in prison.
Further Consequences for Skokie Domestic Battery Charges
Unlike most other misdemeanors, domestic battery cases have a mandatory minimum sentence after conviction. This means if a defendant is found guilty of domestic battery, he or she is not eligible for court-order supervision.
Moreover, this conviction cannot be expunged or sealed. A domestic battery conviction will remain on the defendant’s criminal record for life — visible to the public, law enforcement, and employers.
Those convicted of domestic battery will also be prevented from obtaining a FOID, the license necessary to own a firearm in Illinois. Current FOID holders will likely have their license and firearms taken away by the court. Those who carry firearms for their job or career are not exempt. Moreover, individuals convicted of domestic battery face serious criminal penalties for owning, transporting, shipping, or receiving firearms and ammunition.
The consequences of a domestic battery conviction are severe and far-reaching, jeopardizing your freedom and reputation. Whether you believe the charge is justified or not, If you have been accused of domestic battery, it is critical that you contact a skilled Skokie criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Sami Azhari today to start building the strongest possible defense against your domestic battery charges. He has successfully represented countless people just like you in and around the Chicago area, and understands all of the nuances of domestic violence law in our state.
You can reach him directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by completing an online case evaluation form, or by contacting one of our three areas offices by phone — Skokie at (847) 655-1702, Rolling Meadows at (847) 255-2100, or Chicago at (312) 626-2871.