In Illinois, battery is a crime that is punishable by law, with penalties ranging from probation to serious jail time. The severity and classification of the crime will likely hinge on the facts specific to your case, which may include the severity of the injury or harm caused, whether dangerous weapons were used, and your own criminal record.
Regardless of the classification of the crime, a conviction for battery in the state of Illinois may cause significantly change your life and the privileges you may be able to enjoy in the future. Battery convictions will surface each time an employer, potential lender, or landlord runs a background check on you. To ensure you have the best defense to charges of criminal battery you should contact an experienced Chicago battery attorney immediately.
At Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC, our seasoned battery attorneys are dedicated to ensuring our clients receive the highest quality legal representation in Chicago. We have a proven track record of passionately and vehemently defending our clients against battery charges. When we represent our clients, we fight to ensure their Constitutional rights are respected and that they are given their rightful day in court to defend themselves. If you or someone you love has been charged with battery in Chicago, contact us today. We will review the details of your case, ask questions about your interactions with the police, and devise a legal strategy to fight the battery charges against you.
Illinois Battery Laws
Battery, codified in 720 ILCS 5/12-3, occurs when a person knowingly, and without legal justification:
(1) causes bodily harm to an individual, or
(2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. Simply put, battery is engaging in unwanted or harmful contact with another person.
The crime is considerably broad and its umbrella includes a variety of behaviors and acts. The first type of battery – causing bodily harm – is what most people typically think of when they hear the term battery. Acts that may be considered harmful battery include punching, biting, or slapping. Harmful or injurious battery can also be conducted with the use of a weapon or object, such as a knife, stick, or even an iron. Stabbing someone with a knife, striking them with a stick, or placing a hot iron on someone’s skin would all be classified as batteries. This is different than assault, as you can be charged with assault without even touching the other person.
The second type of battery – making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature – is less commonly discussed. Unwanted physical contact may not cause the same injuries or harm as a punch or a cut, but can cause emotional or psychological injuries. Battery for unwanted touching is often caused in sexual assault and harassment cases.
The main requirements of battery, however, remain the same. A person commits a battery when they engage in unwanted or harmful contact with another person.
In some cases, the actions or behaviors of a defendant are so egregious that the crime will be elevated to aggravated battery. A battery is elevated and charged as aggravated if the defendant:
- Knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement of the victim;
- Strangles the victim;
- Uses or discharges a firearm or other deadly weapon;
- Wears a mask, hood, or mask to conceal his or her identity;
- Provides the victim, or causes them to ingest, a dangerous or toxic substance; or
- Records the battery with the intent to distribute.
Batteries against certain classes of people, or which take place in certain locations, may be elevated to aggravated battery. For example, children under 13, the mentally disabled, judges, police officers, teachers or school employees, firefighters, pregnant women, or the elderly are considered “special” victims, and batteries causing great bodily harm against them are considered aggravated. Batteries that take place in a public place, on a public road, on school property, or in a correctional facility may also be charges as aggravated.
Punishment for Battery in Illinois
Battery is a crime that is generally classified and punished as a Class A Misdemeanor offense. In Illinois, Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious of the Misdemeanor level, and are punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
In some cases, a battery can be classified and punished as a Felony offense. Aggravated battery is generally a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, probation for up to 30 months, and restitution for damages incurred by the victim. Illinois may extend the length of imprisonment to 5-10 years if the defendant has prior convictions for the same crime.
Aggravated battery may be charged as a Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, or Class X felony if certain facts apply. For example, if a weapon is used or if the victim is a member of the special protected class, the state may seek greater punishments under a Class 2 or Class X felony charge.
A Class 3 felony is punishable by 2-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A Class 2 felony is punishable by 3-7 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A Class 1 felony is punishable by 4-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A Class X felony is punishable by 6-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Each Felony class also carries possibilities for probation and restitution. If aggravating factors are found, the term of imprisonment may be extended for each class.
Defenses to Charges of Battery in Illinois
If you are charged with the crime of battery in Illinois you may be able to defend the charges if certain circumstances surround the incident for which you are charged. There are many defenses that are available to you if you have been charged with battery in Chicago. Defenses include:
- Defending yourself or another person from harm;
- Defending your property;
- Lack of reasonable apprehension; or
If you are defending yourself, another person, or your property from injury or harm you are permitted to use reasonable force. The statute defining battery specifically excludes physical touchings that are exercised with legal justification. When asserting these defenses, you are essentially admitting to the battery, but providing a legal justification for your actions.
Contact a Seasoned Chicago Battery Attorney
If you have been charged with the crime of battery you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can to learn about your legal rights. At Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to providing clients with the best legal representation in Chicago. We have a history of successfully fighting for our clients’ rights, often securing reduced sentences or having improper charges dismissed. Enlisting the assistance of an attorney who understands the nuances of Illinois criminal law could be the difference between probation and serious jail time.
Contact our attorneys today to learn about what legal defenses you may be able to use to fight the battery charges that have been filed against you. If convicted, the battery will stay with you for years to come. Calling the lawyers at the Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC is a great first step to limiting the damage impending battery charges may cause. When you call we will review the details of your case, explain your legal rights, and develop a legal strategy to fight the battery charges against you.