As of January 1, 2014, Illinois has taken a step into modern media times by adding a video/audio component to its aggravated assault and battery laws.

The changes in Illinois law upgrades assault or battery to an aggravated offense if you knowingly video or audio the offense with the intent of disseminating the recording. The video/audio restriction applies if your offense is based on the use of a firearm, device or motor vehicle. Using a video or audio with intent to disseminate can also be grounds for the judge to impose an extended sentence, not only for assault or battery, but in committing any felony.

Generally, assault is defined as causing someone to fear they are about to suffer a battery. Battery is defined as causing bodily harm or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. Assault can become aggravated based on the status of a person, the use of a firearm or motor vehicle, or whether a person is in a public place. Battery can be upgraded based on the degree of the injury, the status of the person harmed, the location of the conduct, or if a weapon is involved. While simple assault or battery is a misdemeanor, aggravated conduct is a felony.

As of January 1, 2014, Illinois has added nurses in the performance of their duties to the list of battery victims with special status. Other victims with enhanced status include children, mentally retarded or handicapped persons, pregnant women, senior citizens over age 60, teachers, State of Illinois or school district officials, police officers, firefighters, community policing volunteers, prison officials or security guards performing their duties or if you are retaliating against them because of those duties, taxi drivers while on duty, or merchants detaining you for retail theft.

If you are charged with assault, battery or a similar offense, contact a criminal law attorney immediately. Do not speak to the police or anyone else about your situation either orally or by electronic media such as texting or Facebook. Just like in the cop shows, anything you say may be used against you. A criminal law attorney can carefully review the law and the evidence against you to help devise the best strategy for your defense. Under the revised law, the State must still prove you guilty of all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Perhaps you did not knowingly tape the incident or intend to share it. Even if the evidence is overwhelming, an experienced attorney may 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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