Most states treat violent crimes harshly, and Illinois is no exception. Assault and battery are two violent crimes that often lead to severe penalties if the state succeeds in its prosecution efforts. However, you can overcome your situation. The first step is learning more about these separate yet linked offenses.
How does Illinois address assault and battery?
Most people have a poor understanding of assault and battery laws. For example, many believe that battery is the lesser offense. In truth, assault is typically the least severe of these two offenses.
Assault. To get an assault conviction, prosecutors need not prove any physical contact occurred. The state defines assault as conduct that makes another party fear a battery (beating). For a simple assault conviction, you could face a jail term, a costly fine and several hours of community service.
Aggravated assault. If you commit a simple assault in a public place, you will likely face aggravated assault charges. You can also face charges for aggravated assault by committing a regular assault against protected individuals such as those with a disability and law enforcement personnel. The penalties upon a conviction include a prison term and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Battery. These laws are complicated, but it can help if you understand that prosecutors must prove one of two different elements.
- The defendant knowingly engaged in behaviors that caused another person bodily harm.
- The defendant knowingly engaged in provocative, insulting or unwanted physical conduct with an alleged victim.
Defendants could face two to 60 years of imprisonment upon conviction. However, it will depend on the details of the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal record, if one exists.
Despite the severity of these offenses and their penalties, you do have the right to defend yourself. Talking over your story with a lawyer can result in at least one viable defense. Some of the defenses to discuss with your attorney include:
- You had the other party’s consent
- You acted in defense of yourself or others
- You acted in defense of your property
Take an active role in your criminal defense by remaining candid with your legal team and willing to work with them to achieve the best outcome.