In Illinois, you commit battery if you knowingly, without legal justification, physically hurt another person or cause contact of an offensive nature, such as by grabbing them. But that battery can be upgraded to an aggravated offense depending on the type of injury, victim or place of the offense. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05.

Types of injury can include if you knowingly strangled someone or caused great bodily harm, disfigurement or severe and permanent disability. That includes injury from a bomb, flammable gas, poison or throwing a caustic substance such as lye at someone.

Even if the injury was not severe, aggravation can be based on who your victim is. It is aggravated battery to harm a child under 13, a profoundly intellectually disabled person, pregnant woman, senior citizen over age 60 or a teacher. The charge is also enhanced if you harm a State of Illinois or school district official, police officer, firefighter, community policing volunteer, prison official or security guard when they are performing their duties or if you are retaliating against them because of those duties.

Special victims also include nurses and taxi drivers, and because of the pandemic, merchants relaying safety directions due to a public health emergency. In other words, it is aggravated battery to hit a store worker who is telling you to mask up.

You can be charged with aggravated battery if the offense occurred in a public place, church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship, sports venue or domestic violence shelter.

If you are charged with aggravated battery or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law immediately. Do not try to explain or talk your way out of the situation. What sounds like a reasonable explanation to you might only dig you in deeper with police. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Did you have legal justification for the battery? Were you defending yourself or a third party? Was the contact truly offensive? Did you commit the battery knowingly? Perhaps you struck out not expecting that anyone was near you.

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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