Understanding Illinois Assault and Battery Laws
Although we often hear the terms “assault” and “battery” together, these are two distinct criminal charges under Illinois law. Being convicted of assault and/or battery can lead to heavy fines, a permanent criminal record, and possible incarceration. Having a conviction for assault or battery on your record can seriously damage your professional opportunities as well as your personal reputation. If you or a loved one have been charged with assault, aggravated assault, or battery, make sure you fully understand the criminal charges being brought against you and how to defend against these serious charges.
What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
The crimes of assault and battery often occur within the same incident or altercation. An assault is defined as behavior that reasonably puts another person in fear of harm, while battery involves the actual infliction of harm or injury. An individual can be charged with assault even if he or she does not physically touch the alleged victim in any way. For example, raising your hand in a way that makes the other person believe you are going to strike him or her can be considered assault. A great number of actions can be considered battery, including slapping, kicking, punching, spitting, and other provoking or insulting contact. You may be surprised to learn that a person does not need to suffer actual bodily harm or pain in order to be considered a victim of battery. Actions that are demeaning or intentionally inflammatory can constitute battery under Illinois law.
Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery
There are certain cases in which an assault or battery charge becomes an aggravated assault or aggravated battery charge. The state may elevate the criminal charge if the incident resulted in severe bodily injury, permanent disability, or disfigurement. A defendant can be charged with aggravated assault if he or she used a deadly weapon, firearm, or explosive device in the commission of the assault. Illinois law also considers an assault against certain “special victims” to be an aggravated assault. These individuals include adults over age 60, disabled persons, peace officers, firefighters, correctional officers, school employees, and other protected people.
Criminal Penalties for Assault and Battery
Assault is a Class C misdemeanor in Illinois. It carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,500. Aggravated assault can be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony depending on the circumstances. An individual convicted of aggravated assault in Illinois can face up to three years of incarceration and a fine of up to $25,000. Battery is generally a Class A misdemeanor, and aggravated battery can be a Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, or Class X felony depending on various factors. In some cases, a conviction for aggravated battery can result in a prison sentence of 30 years or more.
Contact a St. Charles Assault and Battery Lawyer
An assault or battery conviction in Illinois can significantly impact the rest of your life. You need a strong defense to clear your name and record. For help fighting assault and battery charges, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. Call us at 630-232-1780 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.