What You Do Not Know About IL Domestic Violence Laws
In Illinois, there are many different types of violent crimes a person can be charged with, but only certain crimes can be considered domestic violence.
When you commit a crime against someone in your family or household, you may face domestic violence charges – serious criminal charges that can land you behind bars or worse.
The seriousness of domestic violence offenses is precisely why everyone should understand what the law has to say about domestic violence in Illinois. Here are a few things you may not know about domestic violence laws in our state – but you should.
A Specific Relationship Must Exist
You cannot be charged with a crime of domestic violence in Chicago unless you have a specific relationship with the victim. They must be someone:
- You were married to (or still are)
- You were dating (or still are)
- You are related to by blood or marriage
- You share a child with
- You shared or currently share a home with
- Who is elderly or disabled for whom you serve as caregiver
If one of these relationships is present, your charges can include domestic violence. This can increase the penalties if you are found guilty.
Those Convicted of Domestic Violence in Chicago Can Lose Constitutional Rights
In our state, anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime may lose the right to possess a firearm. Under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, you have the right to bear arms. However, under the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban in Illinois, you cannot own, transport, ship, or use a firearm or ammunition if convicted of a crime of domestic violence.
If you own guns and are convicted of domestic violence, you will be required to surrender them to law enforcement.
Some Illinois Domestic Violence Crimes are Felonies
Some domestic violence crimes, such as domestic battery, are Class A misdemeanors in Illinois. But if you cause the victim permanent disability or disfigurement, great bodily harm, or if strangulation was involved, you can be charged with aggravated domestic battery, a Class 2 felony.
Class 2 felonies can send you to prison for up to seven years, with a minimum sentence of three years.
You Can Be Charged If You Interfere with a Report of Domestic Violence in Chicago
If you interfer with a domestic violence report, you can face separate charges for that act. That means if you commit a crime involving domestic violence and then try to prevent another person knowingly from calling the authorities or calling for medical attention, you can get charged with an additional Class A misdemeanor.
If you are found guilty of this charge, it can send you to jail for an additional year and require you to pay fines of as much as $2,500.
Domestic violence is taken very seriously by the state of Illinois. If you are found guilty of a crime involving domestic violence, it can have an enormous impact on your life going forward. That’s why you should make sure to have an experienced domestic violence attorney on your side.
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 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.