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 current or former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, others related by blood or marriage, persons who shared a common dwelling, dating partners or people with whom you share a child. The definition extends to the disabled and their caregivers. However, a casual acquaintanceship or the ordinary social or business mixing is not a domestic relationship for purposes of domestic battery. See 720 ILCS 5/12-0.1. 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.

Aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. In addition to other conditions, you must serve at least 60 consecutive days in prison. Second or later violations require a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison. You may also be subject to federal charges if a firearm was involved.

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 the situation. What seems 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. As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Did you act knowingly? Were you acting in self defense? Were you mentally ill? Be aware that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not a defense in Illinois. Was the person truly a family or household member or was it really a casual acquaintance? 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.

Reference: People v. Bryant.

(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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