Jan 18

More commonly referred to as domestic violence, domestic battery is an Illinois crime that addresses aggressive conduct against a family or household member. This type of crime has serious ramifications, as the perpetrator and victim have a close association with each other. Given this reality, Illinois imposes stringent laws against and penalties for domestic battery.

How Does Illinois Define Domestic Battery?

Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2, domestic battery occurs when a person knowingly and intentionally attacks or provokes someone in his or her family. In precise terms, a person commits domestic battery if he or she:

  • Causes physical harm or injury to a family or household member; or
  • Initiates physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member.

To understand the boundaries of domestic battery, it is necessary to review the definition of a family or household member under Illinois law. Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, family and household members include but are not limited to a person’s:

  • Spouse;
  • Former spouse(s);
  • Parents;
  • Children;
  • Stepchildren;
  • Significant other;
  • Former significant other(s);
  • Roommate or other cohabitant;
  • Dependent, high-risk adult with disabilities; and
  • Other blood or marriage relative(s).

How Does Illinois Penalize Domestic Battery?

The Illinois penalties for domestic battery also appear in 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2. As with many criminal offenses in Illinois, the penalty scheme escalates based on the number of convictions. In the case of domestic battery, specifically, the offender can face the following penalties:

  • First Conviction: Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 364 days in jail, $2,500 in fines and 24 months of probation;
  • Second or Third Conviction: Domestic battery is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 12 to 36 months in jail, $25,000 in fines and 30 months of probation;
  • Fourth Conviction: Domestic battery is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 24 to 60 months in jail, $25,000 in fines and 30 months of probation; and
  • Fifth or Subsequent Conviction: Domestic battery is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 36 to 84 months in jail, $25,000 in fines and 48 months of probation.

Additionally, Illinois law provides special penalties for domestic battery committed in the presence of a child. If there is a child present when the offender commits domestic battery, then a conviction can lead to mandatory:

  • Imprisonment for a term of at least 10 days; and
  • Community service for at least 300 hours.

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 johnprior@thepriorlawfirm.com or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Aliyah Jamous)