In Illinois, battery can be upgraded to an aggravated offense if the battery took place in a public place of accommodation or amusement.  The law also includes battery that takes place in a public way, public property, sports venue, domestic violence shelter or  place of religious worship.

            According to the Illinois Supreme Court, such a public place does not include the stoop in front of a victim’s apartment door.  A “public place of accommodation or amusement” is a place for the general public use, supplied for convenience, to satisfy a need, or to provide pleasure or entertainment.  The front stoop did not meet these requirements.  A stoop’s purpose is for a resident to access his or her home. The public’s ability to access a place is not enough to turn it into a public place of accommodation.  The place must be one where the general public is invited to enjoy the goods, services or accommodation being provided.  See People v. Whitehead

            If you have been charged with aggravated battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Did the fight occur in a “public place of accommodation?”  (See our related post: How does your bar fight become a felony in Illinois?)  Were you acting in self defense or defense of another? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

            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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