Self-defense or Defense of Another Person Assault and Battery Attorneys
A criminal conviction can follow you throughout your life. A conviction for assault and battery in Illinois can make it challenging to get a new job, obtain housing, or get financial help when you need it. Where can you go when you need a defense attorney that understands what you’re going through and how to help?
If you or someone you love is facing down a criminal assault and battery charge for defending themselves or another person, look no further than Bruno Law Offices. Since 1980, we’ve been helping Illinois residents defend themselves against charges of all kinds. Call us today at (217) 328-6000 for a free initial consultation, and let us show you how we can help. Don’t let an assault and battery conviction follow you around. Call Bruno Law Offices today.
What is Assault and Battery?
One of the common defenses against an Assault and Battery charge is that you were defending yourself, defending another person, or defending your property. This defense can be used effectively but requires the help of an experienced attorney and proving certain elements in your case.
Assault and battery are two different crimes with different meanings. Assault is defined in the Illinois code as follows: “A person commits an assault when, without lawful authority, he or she knowingly engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” Assault is a Class C misdemeanor in Illinois.
Battery is defined as follows: “A person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.” Battery is a Class A misdemeanor with higher penalties attached.
Essentially, assault is threatening to harm someone; battery is the actual act of harming them. The catch is that assault and battery can be easily misinterpreted. When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene of an altercation in progress or one that has just concluded, it’s sometimes hard to determine who the instigator is and the victim. They may attempt to charge all involved with assault and battery or charge the victim with a crime when defending themselves or someone else because they misinterpret what happened.
Proving Self-Defense or Defense of Another Person
Illinois law allows for defending oneself or another person under certain conditions. The Illinois Compiled Statutes state the following about the use of force:
“A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.”
This means that a person can use force to defend themselves, but only reasonable force. The definition of what is reasonable varies depending on the circumstances. For example, your attorney may have difficulty proving self-defense if you break a person’s arm in response to them pushing your shoulder.
Proving self-defense or defense of another person requires establishing four key elements:
- You believed you or someone else was in imminent danger. This can be a verbal or physical threat and must be immediate and inescapable. If prosecutors can show that you had a chance to escape or de-escalate the situation, this defense may not hold water.
- The danger or threat was unlawful. You must show that the threat of danger was illegal or unlawful, such as non-consensual contact or assault with a weapon.
- The use of force was necessary to protect yourself or another. You must prove that the use of force was the only available option to protect yourself or someone else.
- The force used was proportional to the threat or danger. You cannot use more force to defend yourself than was used to threaten you. For example, if an attacker pulled a knife and threatened to harm you and you responded by pulling a handgun, your defense may not hold up.
How Assault and Battery Convictions Can Hurt You Later in Life
Aside from the threat of jail time or fines, an assault and battery conviction can turn your life upside down. It can affect your ability to travel, obtain credit, get a job, even get housing. Here are some of the ways a conviction can make things harder for you:
- Housing. Most landlords and property managers run criminal background checks on new tenants. Regardless of the reason, a conviction on your record may prevent you from renting a safe and affordable place to live.
- Employment. Just like landlords, employers routinely run background checks on new employees, and an assault and battery conviction can bar you from gainful employment.
- Financial assistance. Applying for any loan or credit also usually includes a criminal background check. A conviction can bar you from receiving student loans, getting approved for a mortgage, or signing up for a credit card.
- Civil rights. If your assault and battery charge is elevated to a felony and you are convicted, you cannot vote in Illinois unless certain conditions are met.
- Family planning. A conviction can hurt you when going through a divorce or child custody battle. A criminal conviction is a red flag to any judge deciding whether you should have legal custody of a family member.
How Bruno Law Offices Can Help
Bruno Law Offices has been helping Illinois residents with their legal defense needs for over forty years. We have the experience, skills, and knowledge to get the positive outcomes our clients need to move on after an arrest.
We are a family firm, and you’ll be treated like family while you’re here. We believe in providing more than excellent legal counsel. Most of our clients come to us during a difficult time, and we pride ourselves on providing the support, compassion, and guidance our clients deserve. We will treat you with compassion and dignity, regardless of the charges against you.
Contact the compassionate assault and battery attorneys with Bruno Law Offices today at (217) 328-6000 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Don’t let an assault and battery conviction determine your future.