You were at a party and a fight broke out. You got involved and even threw a punch or two. But you hardly touched the victim, and it was someone else who landed the victim in the hospital. Now you are charged with aggravated battery.

Can you face the same charges as the guy who did the real damage?

Yes. Under Illinois accountability law, you can still be convicted even if you weren’t the one who really hurt the victim. If you engaged “in a common criminal design,” you can be responsible for anything that happens in carrying out that design. (See People v Boguslaw Czapla, 2012 IL App (2d) 110082.)

To convict you, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: 1) you solicited, aided, abetted, agreed or tried to help someone commit a crime 2) either before or during the crime and 3) that you intended to do so. This is how a defendant who solicits a murder can be convicted of that murder even if he or she wasn’t near the crime scene.

If you are charged with a crime, contact a criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for the best possible defense. Did you intend to help commit a crime? Can the state prove you were involved? Even if the evidence is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse can often negotiate a better plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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