During a break-up, your now ex-girlfriend refused to give you your iPhone. She taunted you by threatening to drop it into a sink full of water, so you grabbed her and yanked it out of her hand. Now you are charged with domestic battery.

You were just trying to save your phone. Is that a defense?

To convict you of domestic battery in Illinois, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly, without legal justification, made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2). However, you may be justified in using force to defend your property if you reasonably believed that force was necessary to stop another from damaging or criminally interfering with personal property that is lawfully in your possession. 720 ILCS 5/7-3.

Determining whether you are justified in defending your property can be very fact specific and can greatly depend on how your particular judge views the evidence. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced criminal law attorney who is familiar with the courthouse and can present the facts of your case in their best possible light. Do not try to talk your way out of your situation because you may instead give the state the evidence they need to convict you.

In People v Bausch, the court found a defendant’s use of force was not justified to defend his property where he grabbed his wife on the mere suspicion that the title and keys to his boat were in her purse.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(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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