Is a Domestic Battery a Misdemeanor or Felony in Illinois?Published: Sep 14, 2017, by in Assault & Battery, Legal Blog
The serious problem of domestic battery manifests itself far too often within households across the United States. The penalties for those convicted of this crime are quite severe in the State of Illinois. The type of charge and level of punishment imposed depends on the particular factors and circumstances surrounding each case. This means, it is possible to face either a misdemeanor or felony in Illinois for an offense involving domestic violence.
If you’ve been charged with domestic battery in the state of Illinois, you may now realize the serious consequences you face if convicted. In light of this, now is the time to obtain highly experienced legal representation to vigorously fight the charges against you. O’Meara Law LLC is here to do just that on your behalf
Call experienced assault and battery attorney Michael O’Meara today at 312-909-0706 to request a free, no obligation consultation, and discover your options moving forward.
Charged With Domestic Battery
You may be charged and convicted of this crime if you knowingly or intentionally, in any manner, and without any legal justification, make physical contact of a provoking or insulting nature with, or otherwise cause bodily harm to, any family or household member.
Under the statute, family and household members may include:
- Former spouses
- Other persons related by blood or by marriage (present or prior)
- Persons who have or allegedly have a child together
- Persons who share or previously shared common dwelling
- Persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child
- Persons who have or have had an engagement or dating relationship
- Persons with disabilities and their personal caregivers or assistants
Misdemeanor or Felony
The offense of domestic battery may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony based on the circumstances and facts of a particular case, as well as any previous legal record of the accused.
Class A Misdemeanor
You will face a class A misdemeanor charge of domestic battery if you have no previous convictions involving violent crimes. Although not a felony, such a misdemeanor conviction can send you to prison for up to one year.
Class IV Felony
You can be charged with a domestic battery felony even if no aggravated factors are involved. You will face a class IV felony on domestic battery if you have one or more prior convictions for any of the following violent crimes:
- Unlawful restraint
- Aggravated domestic battery
Class II Felony
If your domestic battery charge includes severe aggravating factors, the charge may be enhanced to aggravated domestic battery. In this case, you will be charged with a class II felony.
These aggravating factors may include:
- Committing domestic battery with the knowledge you are inflicting great bodily harm
- Committing domestic battery by means of strangulation
- Causing permanent disfigurement or disability
One issue you will face if convicted of domestic battery is that the charge requires the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence. Court supervision is not an option. Unlike virtually all other misdemeanor offenses, conviction and not supervision is the required minimum sentence when guilt is proven by a court.
However, in certain cases it may be possible to amend the misdemeanor battery charge to misdemeanor battery under 720 ILCS 5/12-3. In such cases, the charged individual may be eligible for a supervision sentence.
Another critical issue you will encounter as a result of a misdemeanor conviction on domestic battery is that your charge may not be sealed or expunged. It may never be removed from your record and can have lasting consequences for the rest of your life. You may encounter significant obstacles in dealing with employers, schools, credit agencies, landlords, government entities, and the public at large.
In addition, you may also forfeit the right to possess or purchase firearms. This restriction applies to both misdemeanor and felony domestic battery convictions. You may also forfeit your right to see or visit your children. Protection orders may be in force against you that also prevent you from making any contact with the victim.
Under Illinois law, the penalties for misdemeanors and felonies vary significantly from each other. They are as follows:
Misdemeanor Domestic Battery
A class A misdemeanor conviction carries penalties that include:
- Maximum one year in jail
- Maximum two years of probation
- Maximum fine of $2,500
Felony Domestic Battery
A class IV felony conviction includes penalties of:
- One to three years in prison
- Maximum fine of $25,000
A class II felony carries punishments that include:
- Three to seven years in prison
- Possible probation (but a minimum of 60 days in prison required)
- Maximum fine of $25,000
An Experienced Illinois Domestic Battery Attorney Can Help
As a defendant of a domestic battery charge, you may have options to pursue in order to shorten or possibly avoid a conviction and sentence. Some of these defenses include: lack of proof, self-defense, consent, false accusation, and absence of aggravating factors. However, the implementation of one or more of the defenses requires the skills of an adept and experienced attorney who is seasoned at handling domestic violence cases.
Regardless of the level of the domestic violence charge you are facing, it’s important to obtain strong legal representation in order to defend your rights and minimize the consequences you are facing. Attorney Michael O’Meara has the experience and skills to build a vigorous defense on your behalf.
Contact O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 to schedule a free case evaluation and begin the process.