When a person physically hurts a family member, they commit domestic battery, which is the term for domestic violence under the law in Illinois. Domestic battery has serious consequences, and those who commit this crime can spend up to 7 years in prison in the worst scenario. This crime can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the accused’s criminal history and how they perpetuated the crime.
Domestic battery as a Class A misdemeanor
The law states that a person commits a crime of domestic battery when they cause bodily harm to a family or household member. It is also considered domestic battery if a person makes physical contact with an insulting or provoking nature. Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor, which the court punishes with a sentence of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. It is also a Class A misdemeanor when a person violates a protective order or when they interfere in any way with the reporting of domestic violence.
Domestic battery as a Class 4 felony
Domestic battery can escalate to the level of a felony in specific circumstances. A person commits a Class 4 felony if they hurt a family member and had 1 or 2 prior convictions for domestic battery. The same applies if the person had more than one conviction of another violent offense, such as:
- First-degree murder
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse
- Aggravated arson
A person would also be guilty of committing a Class 4 felony if they have a prior conviction for violating an order of protection. The court punishes those guilty of committing a class 4 felony with a sentence of between 1 to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Domestic battery as a Class 3 felony
The law considers a person guilty of a Class 3 felony when they hurt a family member and had 3 prior convictions for domestic battery. The term of imprisonment for a class 3 felony is between 2 to 5 years. Additionally, those found guilty of this felony may have to pay a $25,000 fine.
Domestic battery as a Class 2 felony
The harshest domestic violence penalties are imposed on those who commit the crime of aggravated battery. Aggravated battery occurs when a person causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another. Strangling also falls into the category of aggravated battery, which is a Class 2 felony. This is the most severe type of battery, and the court punishes it with a sentence of 3 to 7 years in prison plus a $25,000 fine.
The court can additionally order a person to serve minimum imprisonment of 10 days or perform 300 hours of community service if they commit the crime of battery in the presence of a child. Sometimes it can be both. The accused would also have to pay counseling for the child that witnessed the aggression.
The right of the accused
The consequences of a domestic abuse conviction can be serious. However, a charge does not necessarily lead to a conviction. If you are facing a charge for domestic abuse, you have the right to present your arguments to the court before they make any decision. By building a strong defense, you could avoid facing the hard penalties of a domestic abuse conviction.