A criminal charge of any sort can have serious impacts on your life. Not only will you face the immediate consequences of fines or jail time, but you may also experience future repercussions such as inability to rent an apartment or be approved for a loan. Offenses against other individuals – such as assault and battery – can be particularly damaging.
The Urbana-Champaign criminal defense lawyers of Bruno Law Offices have the experience and qualifications necessary to protect you in a court of law. Contact us at (217) 328-6000 to begin forming your defense today.
What Is Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery, though commonly grouped together in a criminal context, are actually two different offenses. Threatening to physically harm another person is considered to be assault. The act of actually physically harming someone else, however, is considered to be battery. Often, these two acts are committed at the same time, although assault and battery may be carried out separately.
Battery encompasses all acts of inflicting physical harm or initiating unwanted physical contact with another person. Anything from spitting on another person to punching someone in the face is considered to be an act of battery.
Aggravated Assault and Battery
Aggravated assault and aggravated battery are more serious crimes than simple assault and battery. These acts typically involve a deadly weapon, although aggravated battery does not necessarily incorporate such a dangerous tool. Both aggravated battery and aggravated assault are considered to be felonies.
Aggravated assault is a threat of serious bodily harm, rape, or murder. It is carried out with a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife. Aggravated battery is a special form of battery that involves the use of a deadly weapon, that is a hate crime, that results in serious bodily harm, or that is committed against a law enforcement officer or otherwise vulnerable individual.
Because these crimes are serious in nature, the consequences for them are equally serious. As such, you will need an experienced and capable criminal defense attorney to help clear your name of any assault and / or battery charges. With the help of an efficient Champaign-Urbana assault and battery defense lawyer, you can fight the charges brought against you and get on with your life.
Consequences of Assault and Battery in Illinois
Under Illinois state assault and battery laws (Article 12, Subdivision 5 of Illinois Compiled Statutes) either crime can be classified as a misdemeanor offense, or they may be classified as felony offenses in aggravated cases. Sentences in this state can be strict for assault and battery, especially if it is not the defendant’s first offense. For example:
- Assault – A Class C misdemeanor assault charge in Illinois, can result in a 30-day jail sentence or a fine in an amount up to $1,500, or both. The court may also sentence the defendant to perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service for this misdemeanor assault.
- Aggravated Assault – If the circumstances of the assault fit the prosecutor’s standard for a Class C misdemeanor, the potential sentence is a one-year term in jail, a fine that amounts up to $2,500, or both. A Class 4 felony charge has a potential jail sentence of one to three years and a fine in an amount up to $25,000, or both. If the defendant has been previously convicted for aggravated assault, the state can enhance the term of imprisonment to a maximum of three to six years.
- Battery – It can be classified as a Class A misdemeanor or Class 3 felony. A sentence for a Class 3 felony has a maximum prison term of two to five years. Illinois state prosecutors have the ability to elevate the charge to a Class 2, Class 1 or Class X felony, which can increase the term of imprisonment for up to 30 years. If the defendant has a prior conviction for aggravated battery, that state may enhance the prison term to a maximum of 60 years.
All penalties for assault and battery depend on the severity of the crime and seriousness of the injuries, aggravating circumstances and prior convictions. For most assault and battery cases without prior convictions for the same crimes, the court is willing to sentence the defendant to a probation term rather than jail time. Felony X offenses do not qualify for a term of probation, however.
What Must Be Proven for Conviction?
Under Illinois statute for an assault conviction, the prosecutor must prove “conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” It must be shown that the victim was in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm. State law allows prosecutors to also consider whether the victim was disabled or elderly.
To prove a charge of misdemeanor battery under Illinois law, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant actually caused bodily harm or conducted provocative or unwanted physical contact with another person.
To successfully convict a defendant with aggravated battery, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly committed the act and show that the crime must have resulted in severe bodily injury, disfigurement, or permanent disability. The crime could also be shown to cause harm to a specified person such as a child or a peace officer. In certain felony cases of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must also show that a firearm, deadly weapon or explosive device was used or that a kidnapping took place in other aggravated cases.
Because the Illinois criminal justice system can be confusing and prosecutors and judges can be unpredictable, hiring an attorney experienced in successfully defending citizens who were charged with assault and battery, will increase your chances of avoiding a conviction or reducing penalties.
What Are Some Defenses Against Assault and Battery Allegations?
State law allows for several valid defenses for assault and battery, which can be used under certain circumstances. Possible defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Self-defense or defense of another person
- Defense of property
- Consent of the victim to the physical contact (in cases of battery)
- Lack of reasonable apprehension or fear about the impending battery (in assault cases)
Each case is unique and a variety of circumstances exist surrounding each incident. Only an experienced lawyer can best analyze the facts of the case to determine the best possible defense. The criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices understand the nuances of how the Illinois criminal justice system operates and are skilled at picking through the details of each case to help clients who face assault and battery charges.
Our team of skilled attorneys have the qualifications and experience necessary to fight on your behalf and committed to clients who are facing serious charges. We understand how stressful this can be to you and your family and will work with you to successfully get the charges dropped or reduced, or to mitigate your sentence.
If you have been charged with assault and battery, then you will need a qualified criminal defense attorney to protect your rights in court. Contact the Champaign-Urbana assault and battery lawyers of Bruno Law Offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn more about how we can help you.