Chicago Battery Lawyer
If you’ve recently been in a fight or an argument, you may be facing battery charges. Battery may only be a misdemeanor, but the authorities treat it seriously because it is a crime of violence. Accordingly, judges often sentence offenders to spend time behind bars in addition to paying fines. Fortunately, you can avoid this undesirable outcome if you act fast and retain the services of a reputable Chicago battery attorney.
At O’Meara Law, we are dedicated to providing each and every client who comes through our doors with a thorough case review and an aggressive defense strategy. With a proven track record of leading our clients’ criminal cases to positive resolutions, we are well positioned to help you avoid the consequences of a battery conviction.
To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 312-909-0706 and we’ll give you a case consultation free of charge.
How Does Illinois Law Define the Crime of Battery?
According to 720 ILCS 5/12-3, you may be convicted of battery when a prosecuting attorney proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and without any legal justification injured or made physical contact of a provoking nature with another person.
Basically, you may get convicted if there is solid evidence that:
- Your striking or touching of the alleged victim was intentional (i.e. not the result of an accidental or unwilling gesture)
- You were not acting in self-defense, or in your capacity as a peace officer
- The alleged victim did not consent to the physical contact
- The physical contact caused harm or insult to the alleged victim
When it comes to determining whether the physical contact was insulting or provocative, the court may look at your relationship to the alleged victim, and the circumstances under which the physical contact occurred. Importantly, actual physical contact between your body and the victim does not need to occur. For instance, evidence that you were spitting or throwing objects may sustain a conviction for battery.
What Are the Penalties for an Illinois Battery Conviction?
In Illinois, battery is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and fines reaching $2,500. But the consequences of an Illinois battery conviction extend beyond fines and possible jail time. In addition to these criminal penalties, you may face any of the following collateral consequences:
- Court costs
- Attorney’s fees
- Civil liability if the alleged victim had medical expenses or property damage
- A permanent criminal record that can restrict your ability to get a job, apply to college, or even find a place to live
- Possible deportation if you’re an immigrant
How Can a Chicago Battery Lawyer Help?
Depending on the specific facts and circumstances applying to your case, there may be one or several defense strategies available to you. When you meet with your lawyer, they will question you and overview the evidence that the prosecutor intends to use against you. Based on this information, your Chicago criminal defense lawyer may be able to employ any of the following defenses:
- Suppressing evidence – The prosecutor cannot use evidence that was obtained in violation of your rights. In the context of a battery case, this might occur if the police continued to interrogate you after you asserted your right to an attorney or to remain silent. The results of any questioning conducted after that point may not be presented in a criminal proceeding. Your lawyer can have such evidence removed from the case by filing what is called a motion to suppress.
- Proving reasonable doubt – To secure your conviction, the prosecutor must prove every element of the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that you may obtain an acquittal if your lawyer can show that there is any reasonable possibility that you are innocent. For example, the video surveillance footage or the witness testimony being used to accuse you may not be reliable.
- Claiming an affirmative defense – When you admit that you hit another person, but that you were justified in doing so, it’s called an affirmative defense. In your battery case, you might be able to claim that you were acting in self-defense, in defense of your property, or in your lawful capacity as a peace officer. To assert self-defense, you must be able to show that you struck the other person because they were harming or threatening to harm you or another person.
- Negotiating with the prosecutor – If the evidence against you overwhelmingly points to your guilt, it’s probably in your best interest to avoid the expense of fighting the charges. Instead, your lawyer can negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. If you agree to plead guilty, the prosecutor may be able to guarantee you a more lenient sentence or a conviction for a less serious offense such as assault.
There are several possible solutions for fighting your battery charges. The Chicago criminal defense lawyers of O’Meara Law will help you chose the defense strategy that will get you the best results possible.
If you’re ready to take the first step in fighting your battery charges, call us today at 312-909-0706 for your free and confidential case consultation.