Battery and assault are two crimes that are related. Due to this, people often use the terms interchangeably when they’re really two very different things in the eyes of the law.
In fact, you can be charged with both crimes if the prosecutor on the case thinks you should be, so the differences between the two are important to understand.
The truth is that these crimes are also very common. Even famous people, such as Shia LeBeouf, have been charged with petty battery.
If you find yourself in a position where you’re defending yourself against one or both of these charges, here’s what you need to know about their differences and the penalties that can be associated with each in the state of Illinois.
Battery in Illinois
To understand the crime of assault in Illinois, it’s crucial to understand the crime of battery first. In Illinois, the two types of conduct that can prove a battery crime are:
- Unwanted, insulting, or provocative contact with another person
- Conduct that causes bodily harm to someone else
Assault in Illinois
In this state, assault is defined as conduct that does not generally include physical injury or even physical contact with the victim. Threats are enough for assault to be charged in Illinois, even if you never touch the person in question.
Aggravated Battery and Assault in Illinois
The laws of Illinois also allow for someone to be charged with aggravated battery or assault if they meet the standards of the underlying assault or battery charge but also use a deadly weapon or firearm in the commission of that crime. It can also be defined as conduct that causes severe bodily injury to the victim such as permanent disability or disfigurement.
Using an explosive device or causing harm to a specific person such as a peace officer or child can also elevate charges to an aggravated level for both battery and assault.
Penalties for Battery in Illinois
A battery crime is seen as a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. It can result in penalties such as up to one year in prison and fines up to $2,500. You may also be subject to up to two years probation and be ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony in most cases, but can be elevated to a Class 2, Class 1, or even a Class X felony based on the circumstances of the case.
That can mean that you can serve anywhere between two years and 30 years in prison based on what you’re charged with. If you have one or prior convictions for aggravated battery, then you can face up to 60 years in prison.
Penalties for Assault
Under most circumstances, assault is a Class C misdemeanor. This can result in up to one month in jail and fines that can total as much as $1,500 if you are found guilty. You may also be sentenced to community service of up to 120 hours.
If you are charged with aggravated assault, it can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony. It depends on the specific factors in the case.
For a Class A misdemeanor, the penalties include up to one year in prison and fines up to $2,500. For a Class 4 felony, you can face up to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
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.