The difference between assault and battery is something that seems to arise on a regular basis. Sometimes used interchangeably, assault and battery are actually separate criminal offenses under the Illinois Criminal Code. Depending on the presence of physical contact, offenders can face completely different penalty structures for assault or battery, including a jail sentence and criminal fines.
How Does Illinois Define and Penalize Assault?
720 ILCS 5/12-1 establishes the Illinois laws against assault. Under this section, it is unlawful to knowingly and without legal authority:
- Engage in any conduct with another person; and
- Place the other person in reasonable fear of battery or similar physical contact.
In this context, it is vital to note that assault does not require physical contact. Words alone can suffice, so long as the victim is in reasonable fear that such contact could be imminent.
Section 12-1 also provides the Illinois penalty for assault. Under this section, assault is a Class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the punishment for this misdemeanor can include a maximum of 30 days in jail and $1,500 in criminal fines. Probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision of up to 24 months is available for Class C misdemeanors in Illinois.
In addition to the criminal penalties above, Section 12-1 imposes a requirement of community service for assault crimes. Any person convicted of assault must perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service. This community service requirement applies even in cases where the offender secures probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision.
How Does Illinois Define & Penalize Battery?
720 ILCS 5/12-3 delivers the Illinois laws against battery. Under this section, it is illegal to knowingly and without legal justification:
- Cause bodily harm to another person; or
- Make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with another person.
Unlike assault crimes, battery requires physical contact. Such contact does not necessarily need to involve physical harm, so long as its nature is insulting or provocative. But words alone do not qualify as battery under Illinois law.
Section 12-3 also provides the Illinois penalty for battery. Under this section, battery is a Class A misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the punishment for this misdemeanor can include a maximum of 364 days in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines. Probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision of up to 24 months is available for Class A misdemeanors in Illinois.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by completing an online form.