Understanding Assault and Battery in Illinois

assault, battery, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerDespite being among the most common violent crime charges in the country, many individuals would be unable to explain exactly what allegations of assault or battery entail. Adding to the confusion is the fact that many cases may include charges of one, the other, or both, and the terminology used may not exactly have the same meaning in everyday conversation. Charges for assault and battery can be extremely serious, particularly so in cases involving aggravated assault or aggravated battery, and a qualified criminal defense lawyer can help you make sense of the situation.

Assault and battery can each represent separate offenses to a person charged with a violent crime; however, the legal definition of assault relies directly upon the definition of battery. Contrary to the conventional order in which the terms are typically listed, an individual should first have a clear understanding of battery.

Battery and Aggravated Battery

Under Illinois law, battery is committed by person who unjustifiably causes physical harm to another, or touches another in an insulting or provoking manner. An example of battery could include a person being “jumped” on the way home from work and being physically punched or kicked. Notably, the law includes “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature” as well, meaning the depending on the situation, the contact may need only be minimal, such as a grabbing a person’s arm, to meet the requirements for a battery offense.

Charges of battery may be elevated to aggravated status due a large number of possible factors including:

  • Charges of battery may be elevated to aggravated charges due a large number of possible factors including:
  • Degree of injury caused;
  • Age, status, or occupation of the victim, such as:
      • Minor children or elderly adults;
      • Individuals with disabilities; and
      • Law enforcement or teachers.
  • Location of the incident; and
  • Use of a weapon or firearm.

Simple battery offenses are generally misdemeanors, while aggravated battery is usually prosecuted as a felony with more severe consequences possible depending on the circumstances.

Assault and Aggravated Assault

Without appropriate authority, placing another person in “reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery” constitutes an assault according to state law. Therefore, assault may include believable verbal threats, physical attacks which do not cause bodily harm but threaten to, or brandishing a weapon.

Many of the same factors which elevated battery to aggravated battery apply to aggravated assault, as well. The location, victim, attempts by the suspect to conceal his or her identity, and use or discharge of firearm may result in the more severe charge of aggravated assault. Depending on the nature and individual facts of the case, aggravated assault may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony.

Defending Assault and Battery Charges

Among the most common defenses to charges related to assault and battery offense is providing evidence that the actions were justified in some way. Most often justifications included self-defense, defense of another, defense of personal property, or that the alleged victim consented to the contact that might otherwise constitute battery.

If you are facing allegations of assault and battery, you require professional legal assistance, especially in the event of aggravated charges. Contact the experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today. We will review your case and will work with you throughout the legal process.

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