Fighting With Your Roommate? It Can Lead to IL Domestic Battery
When police are called to the scene of two people fighting, there are several possible scenarios that can occur after that point. If the two people live in the same household, there is a chance that the crime of domestic battery can be charged.
When most people think of domestic battery charges, they imagine it’s something that a person can be charged with if they fight with the spouse or significant other – not simply a person that’s your roommate. But the laws surrounding the crime of domestic battery are clear, so it’s something everyone should be aware of.
If you’ve been charged with domestic battery, then it’s important to understand the laws covering it. If you haven’t, it’s equally important to understand what types of actions against certain people can lead to domestic battery charges. Here’s what you need to know.
Domestic Battery: What Is It?
Under Illinois law, domestic battery is defined as:
- Someone intentionally or knowingly causing physical harm to another person
- Making physical contact with someone in a provocative or insulting way.
It differs from battery in that these actions are taken against someone in your family or a household member.
Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, a specific group of people is covered by domestic violence laws. The people that you can be charged for domestic battery for taking these actions against include:
- Current Spouse
- Former Spouse
- Anyone you are related to by blood
- Anyone with whom you may co-parent
- A person you currently live with, whether your relationship is romantic or not
- An elderly adult and their caregiver
- A disabled adult and their caregiver
- Anyone with whom you may have previously lived
- Anyone you may be related to through a child
- Your children
- Your stepchildren
The type of actions that can end in domestic violence or domestic battery charge include:
- Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, or stopping someone from leaving
- Threatening to hurt someone physically
- Forcing someone to take any action they don’t want to do
You can also be charged with aggravated domestic battery if physical harm is perpetrated on another person that disables or disfigures them.
The Penalties for Domestic Battery
If you are charged and convicted of domestic battery in Illinois, then you face some penalties that can have an impact on your life in a major way.
Under Illinois law, domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction can send you to prison for up to 12 months and require you to pay fines of as much as $2,500. It’s also a crime that will go on your criminal record, which can show up during background checks for employment and even loans or housing.
Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony. If you are convicted, then you can face as many as seven years in prison and be responsible for fines for as much as $25,000.
It’s also important to note that some circumstances can add to the severity of the charge against you when it comes to domestic battery. For instance, if a child was present during the event or there was a restraining order in place against you, then it can lead to more serious charges and penalties. If you have previously been convicted of a felony, then any domestic battery or domestic violence charge against you can be more serious.
Orders of Protection
Another factor related to domestic violence and domestic battery charges: orders of protection. Victims can seek out orders of protection by the court that can prevent you from making contact with them. If you share a home, then you can no longer live there. You will have to find alternative housing while the order of protection is in place.
Orders of protection may also mean that you have to:
- Turn over any guns you own to law enforcement
- Go to counseling
- Take classes about domestic violence at the direction of the court.
Violating a protective order is a crime itself and can lead to separate charges on top of domestic battery charges. If one is taken out against you, it’s important that you follow it.
As you can see, domestic battery is a serious charge with serious consequences. Certainly, people fight, especially people that live together. But it’s in the best interest of everyone involved if conflicts can be solved peacefully without escalating to domestic battery.
If you’ve been charged with domestic battery, then it’s important that you understand the charges against you as well as your rights under the law.
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.