What is Domestic Violence in Illinois?
The Illinois crime of Domestic Violence is set forth in 750 ILCS 60. You can be arrested and charged with Domestic Violence if you make physical contact or physically abused a member of your family. What's considered a member of your family is more expansive than most people realize. A member of your family can be your current spouse, an ex-spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, your children, and your step-child.
You don't have to hurt the other person to be charged with Domestic Violence. The Illinois Domestic Violence law allows police and prosecutors to charge you with a Domestic Violence in two ways. The first way you can be charged with Domestic Violence is if you physically harm the other person. The second way you could be charged with a Domestic Violence is if you made contact with another person of an insulting or provoking nature. An example of the second way that you can be charged with Domestic Violence is if you spit on someone. The Illinois Domestic Violence statute considers both types of conduct to be Domestic Violence and the Illinois Domestic Violence statute punishes each type of Domestic Violence the same. Practically, prosecutors and Judges treat defendants charged with a Domestic Violence that causes physical harm more seriously than when the Domestic Violence charges involve a touching of an insulting or provoking nature.
What is Aggravated Domestic Violence in Illinois?
The Illinois crime of Aggravated Domestic Violence is set forth in 750 ILCS 5/12-3.3. There's two ways that you can be charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence in Illinois. The first way that you can be charged with an Aggravated Domestic Violence is if the victim suffered great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement or permanent disability. The second way that you can be charged with an Aggravated Domestic Violence charge is if the victim was strangled. If you placed your hands around the victim's neck and the victim was unable to breathe, even for a second, you can be charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence. Aggravated Domestic Violence is a very serious criminal charge in Illinois. If you are convicted of Aggravated Domestic Violence, your custody and visitation rights with your children may be affected. Many people charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence find themselves being prosecuted by special prosecutors who only handle Aggravated Domestic Violence charges.
What is the Sentence for Domestic Violence and Aggravated Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. However, if you are convicted of Domestic Violence, unlike most misdemeanors in Illinois, you cannot receive Court Supervision. Court Supervision would allow you to avoid having a criminal conviction on your criminal record if you successfully completed your sentence. Since Court Supervision is not available for a Domestic Violence case in Illinois, the lowest sentence you can receive for a Domestic Violence in Illinois is Conditional Discharge. Conditional Discharge is basically a conviction that can never be removed from your record. That's what makes a Domestic Violence criminal charge one of the most serious misdemeanor crimes in Illinois. The inability to receive Court Supervision and to avoid a criminal conviction on your record makes Domestic Violence a serious criminal offense in Illinois. The only ways to avoid a permanent criminal conviction for Domestic Violence is to win your case or to convince the Prosecutor to reduce the Domestic Violence to a Simple Battery. If the Domestic Violence charge is reduced to a Simple Battery, it is possible to receive Court Supervision and to avoid having a permanent criminal conviction placed on your record. If you are convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Aggravated Domestic Violence is a Class 2 Felony. Aggravated Domestic Violence carries a potential prison sentence of between 3 to 7 years. You can receive probation for an Aggravated Domestic Violence charge. However, you must serve at least 60-continuous days in jail if you are guilty of Aggravated Domestic Violence. The 60-continuous days in jail is mandatory under Illinois Law and cannot be waived by a Prosecutor or a Judge.