The Line Between Domestic Assault and Domestic Battery in IL
In Illinois, when you take certain violent actions against members of your family or household, they’re classified as domestic violence crimes.
While a conviction won’t necessarily equate to a whole lot of time behind bars or payment of a whole lot in fines, you will jeopardize your home and family life as well as put a ding on your criminal record against you.
Not to mention, crimes committed against family members or household members tend to have consequences that impact how you live your day-to-day life.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence crimes in Illinois, particularly domestic battery and domestic assault, including the differences between them and the penalties you may face if found guilty.
What Is a Domestic Violence Offense?
For a crime to be considered a crime of domestic violence, the perpetrator as well as the victim must be a household or family member. Household and family members are defined as:
- Former or current spouses
- People who currently or have formerly shared a dwelling
- Children, parents, stepchildren, and other people related by marriage or blood
- Those who have a child in common
- Those with disabilities and their caregivers
- Those who are engaged or dating
What Is Domestic Battery?
When a person deliberately causes bodily harm to a family or household member by making contact with them physically in a confrontational or offensive way, then it is considered a crime of domestic battery.
Generally, this is a Class A misdemeanor, however, if you have a history of domestic battery or you’ve previously violated an order of protection, then it becomes a Class 4 felony.
A Class A misdemeanor can result in 12 months in jail and fines of $2,500. However, a Class 4 felony can put you in prison for up to six years and make you responsible for fines up to $25,000.
What Is Domestic Assault?
In Illinois, when a person acts in such a way that inflicts bodily harm on a family member or household member or makes them fear for their lives, then it is considered domestic assault.
In general, domestic assault where a person’s life was not threatened is a Class A misdemeanor charge but if strangulation of a household or family member occurs, or you’ve had prior convictions of similar charges in the past, then it is a Class 4 felony.
For misdemeanor assault cases, if the defendant has no prior history, then they most likely will only get court supervision. This kind of recourse doesn’t count as a conviction but still goes on your criminal record.
As a part of court-ordered supervision, classes may have to be completed as well as counseling for domestic violence issues. The max penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is one year in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
If there is a prior conviction on record, then you can face up to three years in prison. You may also be ordered to have no contact with the person you have been convicted of perpetrating domestic assault against.
These are the penalties that can have the greatest impact on your life — especially when your children are involved.
Domestic violence as a whole, and domestic assault and domestic battery specifically, have a huge impact on the lives of everyone involved. Make sure to understand your rights if you are charged with domestic violence and understand what charges are filed against you.
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.