Did You Know Strangulation Can Aggravate an IL Battery Charge?
It isn’t uncommon for disagreements and arguments to sometimes become violent. When these incidents are serious enough, then typically someone within earshot (or closer) will call the police. Usually, the result is criminal charges for one or both of the parties involved.
The thing is, when there’s actual physical contact, there’s also a line between simple battery and an aggravated charge — one that can be ultrafine depending on what happened.
Strangulation, for instance, will automatically aggravate a battery charge. This is why it’s crucial to know the difference in Illinois. Here’s what the accused needs to know.
How Illinois Defines Battery
The crime of battery is defined in Illinois as an act that includes one of these factors:
- Physical contact of a provoking or insulting nature made with another
- Bodily harm is done to another person
Touching someone in an offensive way that doesn’t cause harm or injury can still be considered battery. It doesn’t happen frequently, but in certain circumstances, any provoking or insulting touch may legally be charged as a battery crime as well.
When an IL Battery Crime Becomes Aggravated
Illinois state law has created a separate charge for aggravated battery. It is charged when the crime also includes any of a slew of aggravating factors listed in the statute:
- Great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement is intentionally caused
- A deadly weapon was used in the commission of the crime
- The victim was known to be a community policing volunteer or teacher
- The victim was a private security worker, taxi driver, utility worker, police officer, or emergency worker on duty when the crime occurred
- The victim was an officer or employee of the state of Illinois
- The incident occurred after someone detained the defendant after an alleged retail theft
- The victim was in a domestic violence shelter when the crime occurred
- The victim is physically handicapped
- The victim was a judge acting in their official capacity
- The victim was pregnant or over the age of 60
- The defendant attempted to mask their identity with robes, masks, or hoods during the crime
Where Strangulation Fits into Illinois Battery Laws
Strangling someone as you commit a battery crime is also considered an aggravating factor. The act of strangulation is earmarked by actions that inhibit normal circulation to the brain or that obstructing the normal breathing of a victim by applying pressure to the throat or neck.
The length of time the strangulation occurred isn’t a factor – it can be for several minutes or even just a few seconds to count. So even simply wrapping one’s hands around someone else’s throat and squeezing in a heated moment is enough to be charged with aggravated battery.
What the Penalties Are for an IL Aggravated Battery Conviction
Aggravated battery is always a felony and charges are separated by class depending upon the aggravating factors in the case.
Penalties for a conviction can range from a few years up to six decades in prison along with fines that can reach $25,000. Below are the four felony classes for aggravated battery and the maximum penalties associated with a conviction on each:
- Class 3 Felony: 10 Years in Prison + $25,000 in Fines
- Class 2 Felony: 14 Years in Prison + $25,000 in Fines
- Class 1 Felony: 30 Years in Prison + $25,000 in Fines
- Class X Felony: 60 Years in Prison + $25,000 in Fines
In addition to these penalties, Illinois offenders are often required to pay a stipulated restitution amount to the victim. Sometimes probation is an option in lieu of imprisonment, but that typically depends upon a solid defense strategy and is only granted at the discretion of the court.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.