Hit a Minor, Get an Automatic Aggravated Battery Charge in Illinois
Regardless of the degree and circumstances surrounding the offense, criminal battery can be quite a serious charge. You could potentially face years behind bars, and a criminal record of violent crime can come back to haunt you for years.
Aggravated battery charges are even more serious than simple assault and battery. While simple battery often garners a misdemeanor charge, and penalties (at least on the first offense) are typically punished by probation, aggravated battery is always a felony which rarely doesn’t land an offender jail time upon conviction.
Some forms of aggravated battery are open to interpretation, but there are particular actions that will result in an automatic aggravated battery charge.
Hitting (striking) a minor is one of them. You will automatically face an aggravated battery charge regardless of other mitigating circumstances, or of whether the alleged victim was seriously injured or not.
Let’s take a look at assault and battery charges in Illinois, and the circumstances that can elevate them to aggravated battery.
Illinois Assault and Battery Defined
Assault and battery are two related crimes, and are often referred to interchangeably. However, in Illinois, they refer to two separate but related offenses.
Battery is defined as the following:
- Causing bodily harm to another individual
- Insulting, provocative or unwanted physical contact with another individual
On the other hand, assault is defined as “conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.”
In other words, “battery” is actual violent or offensive physical contact with a victim, while assault can simply be the threat of this action.
Aggravated Battery in Illinois
Under certain circumstances, the charge of battery can be elevated to aggravated battery. The most common cases include instances where:
- Battery is committed against a child
- Great bodily harm, disfigurement or permanent disability results
- There was the use of a firearm or deadly weapon
- There was the use of an explosive device
- The offender wears a mask or hood to conceal his or her identity
- Or when battery is committed against a police officer
When we talk about some of these circumstances being “open to interpretation,” we mean there are elements of a given crime which are subjective. For example, the definition of “great bodily harm” is debatable.
On the other hand, clear-cut aggravating factors such as committing the offense against a child or other protected person will land you with an aggravated battery charge no matter what.
How Illinois Handles Aggravated Battery Sentencing and Penalties
Aggravated battery sentencing and penalties depend on the severity of the battery committed, and class of the alleged victim:
- Aggravated battery against a non-protected individual: Class 3 Felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
- Battery against a police officer, firefighter, or correctional officer: Class 2 Felony punishable by 2-5 years of imprisonment and fines up to $25,000
- Battery against a police officer, firefighter or correctional officer that inflicts great bodily harm: Class 1 Felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
- Battery against a child under 13: Class 1 Felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
- Battery against a child under 13 with severe bodily injury: Class X felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000
When a simple act of lashing out against someone who happens to be underage can land you years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines, we’d say the charges are pretty serious.
You’ve taken the first step in educating yourself about how that could happen. If you currently face aggravated battery charges in this state, you don’t have to do it alone.
Reach out to an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney who will be proactive in fighting back to beat your aggravated battery charges so you can move on.
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.