As of January 1, 2014, those accused of domestic violence could face more severe penalties. A change in Illinois law stiffens the charges against repeat offenders.
Domestic battery is defined as knowingly and without legal justification causing bodily harm or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a household or family member. A first offense is a Class A Misdmeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Subsequent offenses were a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years.
The change in the law, however, comes into play when you have more than two prior domestic battery convictions. If you have three prior convictions, your offense is now a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in jail. Four or more convictions is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. Illinois law already provided a mandatory 72 hours of jail time on a second or subsequent conviction.
If you are charged with domestic battery, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not communicate with others or the police about your case. Any attempt to explain yourself may come across as though you are trying to blame the victim and may give the prosecution the evidence they need to convict you. You should also make every effort to avoid direct or third-party contact with the complaining witnesss, since it may well exacerbate an already difficult situation.
An experienced criminal law attorney can review your case to determine the best possible defense. Was the physical contact truly insulting? Did you have legal justification? Perhaps you really were acting in self defense. Was the person a member of your household? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to work out 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see Revised Domestic Battery Law and Governor Quinn Signs Law to Crack down on Domesric Violence in Illinois.
(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.)