Domestic Violence Attorney Servicing the Greater Chicago Area
Being charged with domestic violence under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 has turned the lives of my clients upside down. The penalties that a domestic battery charge carry can range from misdemeanor penalties to felony charges, civil orders limiting one’s freedom and potential prison sentences. Illinois courts treat domestic violence and domestic battery charges very seriously. The reason for this is that Illinois recognizes domestic violence as a serious crime against the individual and society which produces family disharmony in thousands of Illinois families, promotes a pattern of escalating violence which frequently culminates in intra-family homicide, and creates an emotional atmosphere that is not conducive to healthy childhood development. That is why domestic battery has its own section in the Illinois statute.
A battery under 720 ILCS 5/12-3 becomes domestic based on the relationship between the parties. Under 750 ILCS 60, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, protects family or household members from domestic violence. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers. If a battery occurs against an individual who qualifies as a family or household member, a series of actions are taken to protect that person. Here is a brief breakdown of the process a person charged with domestic battery will experience through the Illinois court system.
If you are charged with domestic battery, whether true or not, it is possible that you will be arrested and charged. The police will speak to both parties. This is a difficult position for a person charged with domestic violence to be in because the smartest thing they can do is remain silent to protect themselves against future stress and aggravation. In the moment, this is the hardest thing to do because you want to explain your side of what happened. Fight this urge and remain silent. In my experience, if a female is the victim, the police will most likely believe her version of events, or, in an abundance of caution and to protect themselves from liability and responsibility, remove the male or other female accused from the home.
Sometimes, the police will encourage the accused to find somewhere else to stay for the night so the situation can cool down. Even if you are the owner of the home or your name is on the lease, you will likely be asked to leave the property. If you refuse, you will likely be arrested. If an arrest is made, you will be taken to jail and not released until you see a judge and have a bond hearing. While the police have the authority to release individuals on bond from the police station, they will not do so with domestic violence charges. You will likely be held overnight before you can see a judge the next day. When you do see a judge, be prepared to post a cash bond. The amount of this bond will depend on your criminal history and the facts surrounding your arrest. This amount could range from $100 to thousands of dollars or being held “no bail” meaning you will not be released during your entire case. After your bond hearing you will be given a court date where your appearance is required.