A skillful CHICAGO CRIMINAL LAWYER representing CLIENTS AGAINST domestic violence (DV)
Being charged with domestic violence (DV) 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 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 that 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.
Domestic Violence FAQs
When called to the scene, 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. 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 until you have an attorney present.
If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, you need an aggressive and experienced legal defense. Call Purav Bhatt at (773) 791-9682.
If you are charged with domestic battery, whether true or not, it is possible that you will be arrested. The police will likely 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.
A battery 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.
Generally, domestic battery is prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine (up to $2,500) and jail time (up to one year).
At the same time, Illinois domestic violence laws have provisions that allow prosecutors to upgrade domestic violence to a Class 2 felony if you have a prior conviction of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery with a firearm, kidnapping, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and a number of other offenses that are similar in nature to domestic violence. The full list of prior convictions that can cause a domestic violence charge to be upgraded into a felony can be found here.
Under Illinois law, you can be charged with aggravated battery under the following circumstances:
- If the victim has suffered significant bodily harm, or is disfigured or permanently disabled as a result of your actions.
- If you choked or strangled the victim while committing the crime.
It should be noted that you do not necessarily have to apply a chokehold or put your arms around the victim’s neck or throat in order to be charged with aggravated domestic battery. Blocking the nose or mouth of domestic violence victims in order to obstruct their breathing is also considered an act of strangulation under the law.
Aggravated domestic battery is one of the most serious domestic violence or domestic abuse charges you can face in Illinois. It is a Class 2 felony which is punishable by imprisonment for anywhere from 3 to 7 years. If you have a prior aggravated domestic battery conviction on your record, you could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
Possible Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge
Depending on the circumstances, your Chicago domestic violence defense attorney might use one of the following defenses to get your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
Self defense is one of the most common defenses used in domestic violence cases. If you used force against the alleged victim in order to protect yourself or someone else you believed was in imminent danger, your domestic violence defense lawyer can make the argument that you were justified in using force.
For example, if the alleged victim lunged at you with a knife after a heated argument, and you ducked and tackled them to the ground resulting in a rib injury, your domestic violence lawyer can make the case that you acted in self-defense since your life was possibly in danger.
Lack of Evidence
If there is no tangible evidence (medical records, statements from eyewitnesses, photographs, videos, phone records, or voicemail records) to prove that a crime (whether it is verbal abuse or physical abuse) was actually committed, your criminal defense lawyer can convince the prosecution to drop the charges against you or get the charges against you dismissed in court.
If the alleged victim falsely accused you in order to frame you or to get back at you, your Chicago domestic violence lawyers will investigate your case in order to prove that there is no factual basis for the false allegations. Without legal justification for the domestic criminal charges, your defense team may be able to get the case against you dropped or dismissed.
Domestic violence generally involves an element of intention. If you hurt the alleged victim unknowingly or unintentionally, it cannot be considered an act of domestic violence. For example, if you are doing repair work on your home and a tool slips out of your hand, hits your spouse, and causes an injury, you cannot be accused of domestic battery.
Contact the Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyers at The Law Office of Purav Bhatt
If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is essential to contact a seasoned domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Purav and Bhatt, we have successfully handled many domestic violence cases and can help you get the best possible outcome. Call us today at 773-791-9682 or fill out our online form to discuss the domestic violence charges against you.