Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.3, you commit aggravated domestic battery if you knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement or if you strangle someone while committing a domestic battery. Domestic battery means that you caused harm to a family or household member. Household members include people with whom you share a common dwelling. (See 720 ILCS 5/112A-3(a)(3).)

Sharing a common dwelling means “to stay in one place together on an extended, indefinite, or regular basis.” The court considers the length of time the parties lived together, the nature of the living arrangements, whether the parties had any other living accommodations, whether they kept personal items at the shared residence and whether the parties shared in the privileges and duties of a common residence, such as contributing to household expenses or helping with maintenance.

For example, in People v. Bryant the court held that the defendant shared a common dwelling with the victim even though he had lived at the victim’s apartment for only a few days before he stabbed her. The court reasoned that the defendant had intended to live with the victim for an indefinite period. He had no other current accommodations, and all his belongings were at the victim’s apartment.

If you are charged with aggravated domestic battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not try to talk your way out of your situation. What may seem like justification to you may give the state the evidence they need to convict you. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Whether you shared a common dwelling with the victim can be a very fact-intensive inquiry, one which different judges may view very differently. An attorney who is familiar with the judges in your courthouse may be able to present your situation in its most convincing light.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois 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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