In Illinois, criminal acts are classified as domestic violence when they involve the abuse of a family or household member.
You might be wondering exactly what defines a “family or household member”. This role could include:
- Spouses and former spouses
- Parents, children, and stepchildren
- Persons who formerly shared the same home
- Persons who dated or were engaged, regardless of gender
- Persons who allegedly have a child in common
- Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants
Types of Crimes
Domestic Battery – A person can be charged with domestic battery if they have intentionally caused bodily harm to a family or household member, or if they have made physical contact in a threatening, insulting, or provocative manner. This means that spitting, slapping, and other violent acts that may not cause visible injury are also considered battery and can be charged in a manner as serious as those resulting in graver bodily injury.
Aggravated Domestic Battery – A person can be charged with aggravated domestic battery if they have committed an act of domestic battery than resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement. Strangulation is an act that commonly results in aggravated domestic battery charges, especially when there is clear evidence that the strangulation occurred.
The penalties for domestic violence are covered in 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2. The law classifies domestic battery cases as Class A misdemeanors. However, if a person has a record of violent criminal history, then they will be charged with a felony.
Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $2,500, probation, and up to a year in prison.
Offenders with one or two prior violent offenses on their record at the time of the arrest will be charged with a Class 4 felony. If the conviction has been upgraded to a Class 4 felony, the guilty party will face up to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Offenders with three prior violent offenses on their record will be charged with a Class 3 felony, punishable by fines of up to $25,000 and up to five years in prison.
If the accused has four or more violent offenses on their record at the time of the arrest, they will most likely be charged with a Class 2 felony. Penalties for Class 2 felonies include fines of up to $25,000 and seven to fourteen years in prison.
Cases of aggravated domestic battery are automatically Class 2 felonies. A person convicted of aggravated domestic battery must serve a mandatory minimum of 60 days in prison regardless of other factors.
Domestic battery charges are often upgraded to felonies if the crime was committed in the presence of a child.
Victims of domestic violence may obtain a protective order that limits the offender’s rights, which will severely limit offenders’ freedoms. Those convicted of crimes of domestic violence may not be able to work certain places with women and children present. If a person violates a protective order, they can suffer a number of penalties depending on the conditions of the violation.
Those who have violated protective orders have been known to face varying charges, which can include fines and jail time, as well as consequences related to job loss, eviction, and even loss of custody of their children.
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.