Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 at 12:55 pm
You should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer after your arrest for assault. A simple assault conviction can have long-term consequences. You might have to serve time in jail, pay an expensive fine, or complete probation. The conviction becomes part of your criminal record and can create challenges in seeking a job or place to live.
The Legal Definition of Assault in Illinois
Assault and battery are terms people use to describe the same crime. Although they involve similar acts, assault and battery are separate criminal offenses.
Battery occurs when a person knowingly causes someone’s physical injury or makes physical contact in a provocative or insulting manner.
According to 720 ILCS 5/12-1, assault occurs when someone knowingly engages in conduct that causes another person to have a reasonable fear of battery. In other words, assault involves actions that indicate possible injury to the victim. While “assault and battery” is a charge someone can face, assault only applies if someone threatens another person or acts like they will cause harm even if injuries or physical contact don’t result from the conduct.
Penalties for an Assault Conviction
Assault is a Class C misdemeanor in Illinois. The penalties for assault vary based on the circumstances but typically include:
- A fine between $75 and $1,500
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Between 30 and 120 hours of community service if the sentence doesn’t involve imprisonment
Probation and Court Supervision
The judge might order probation instead of a jail sentence. Probation can replace imprisonment for the assault conviction or occur after the offender spends time in custody.
When you’re on probation, you must meet with your probation officer and comply with the conditions the court imposes. Those conditions might include a curfew, maintaining employment, and avoiding contact with the victim of the crime.
Court supervision is another penalty allowed under state law. The court might defer your sentencing if you plead guilty to the assault charge. Like probation, the court will impose conditions you must meet during sentencing. If you meet those conditions, the judge may dismiss your charge.
How to Defend Against an Assault Charge
The defense strategy in your case will depend on the circumstances. The most common defenses include:
- Self-defense – Self-defense is among the most common defenses to an assault charge. Sometimes, using physical force to protect yourself from an attack is necessary. You must prove a threat of illegal force or harm against you existed that caused reasonable fear for your safety and that it wasn’t possible to escape the situation.
- Defense of others – Like self-defense, defense of others works as a defense strategy if you protect another person from a threat or physical violence. You must establish that you reasonably feared someone else getting hurt and there was no choice but to act forcefully against the attacker.
- The victim didn’t fear battery – The definition of assault involves someone else fearing battery. That means they believe a person could cause an injury or physical contact. You did not commit assault if the victim did not fear you would harm them.
- Conditional threat – A conditional threat is a threat of harm if a victim acts or doesn’t act in a specific way in the future. You might beat the assault charge if your language represented conditional language that didn’t indicate an intent to harm the victim. For example, a person threatening to hit someone if they approach them is a conditional statement. The condition is that the victim must approach the offender to fear possible battery.
- Consent – Sometimes, the victim consents to assault. Although it seems strange, specific circumstances involve voluntary harm. For example, participating in recreational contact sports obviously consents to potential injury. If you chased someone down the football field and tackled them, it isn’t assault. The victim knew the risks of playing the game and that they could get hurt but chose to participate anyway.
- Mistaken identity – An eyewitness could wrongly identify you as the offender. A solid alibi can place you somewhere else when the crime occurred, proving you couldn’t have committed the assault.
Fight Your Assault Charge with Aggressive Representation
An assault conviction can change the course of your life. You don’t have to defend yourself alone. Let Bruno Law Offices protect your rights and fight for your future and freedom.
If you were arrested or charged with assault, call us at (217) 328-6000 today for a confidential consultation. We have represented clients for over 35 years and will provide the same personalized attention and dependable services when you hire us.