Chicago Assault and Battery Defense Lawyer
Assault and battery, while often used together in the legal language, are distinct from one another.
Assault constitutes threats that put another person under the apprehension of receiving physical harm or injury. Battery occurs when some physical harm has taken place.
The Illinois state authorities and law enforcement agencies take assault and battery offenses seriously. While simple assault, without any physical harm to the victim, may be charged as a misdemeanor, the slightest injury can result in a battery charge which may lead to a prison sentence of one year at the bare minimum.State Legislation
Assault and battery are defined by the 720 ILCS 5-12. Assault is committed by a person when they engage in activity that places another person under threat of harm. Battery is committed by a person when they cause bodily harm or make physical contact of a provoking nature with another person.
The legislation also covers aggravated assault and aggravated battery which are more severe and qualified on the basis of the status of person who is being assaulted or battered as well as the severity of the act.
For instance, assaulting a police officer or a fireman while they are performing their duties can trump a charge of assault into aggravated assault.
Similarly, battery of a correctional officer or battery that leads to permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim can be charged as aggravated battery.Punishments
A basic assault is a minor misdemeanor and typically charged as a Class C offense. Aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor and may even be tried as Class 3 or Class 4 felony.
Battery is a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum 1 year prison term. Aggravated battery is more serious and the prosecution can charge it as a Class 3 or Class 4 felony.
A Class 3 felony can lead to prison terms of two to five years while a Class 4 felony can lead to a minimum one year sentence.Considerations for Assault and Battery
The Illinois legislation lays out additional considerations for battery. For instance, causing harm to an unborn child is also considered battery in Illinois. A minor harm to a fetus or embryo, at any stage of the pregnancy, can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Battery that leads to significant harm to the unborn child can be tried as a Class 2 felony.
It should be noted that the law does not apply to cases of abortion where the mother has given consent.
Another issue with battery is when it is committed against a household member at the dwelling place of the offender. If the offender has had a previous conviction for battery against the victim or is in violation of a protection of restraining order, the battery can be tried as a serious felony under Illinois Domestic Violence Laws.Examples and Court Cases
In a recent case at a day care facility in Chicago, three employees were charged with battery after they gave children gummy bears laced with melatonin, without receiving prior consent from the parents.
Melatonin is a supplement that helps people sleep. It is illegal to give children any sedatives or medicine without express permission from the parents first.
The Police Department reported that officers were called to the care center by the management after they learned that a teacher had given the gummies to children in an effort to calm them down. During questioning, the police learned that two additional teachers were also involved and arrested all three of them on charges of battery.
Authorities later contacted the parents to inform them that none of the children were sickened or harmed.
In a different case, a man was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm after a two day trial in Carbondale.
Bryan D Wise had been charged for shooting his uncle on July 4th last year. The police questioned the victim at the hospital after the shooting where he was being treated wounds to his clavicle. He had identified Wise as the assailant.
The use of a firearm, while committing an aggravated battery can be tried as a Class X felony. Punishment for a Class X felony is 6 to 30 years in prison.
In a third case, a correctional officer at the lake county jail was recently charged with battery after he allegedly touched a female contract employee inappropriately.
Darin Chansky turned himself in after a judge had issued warrants for his arrest. The officer was placed on administrative leave with pay by the department.
A female employee who works inside the jail for food service had told the court that Chansky touched her buttocks in the presence of inmates. She also informed the court that Chansky had made inappropriate sexual gesture towards her in the presence of inmates.
The investigators had interviewed the inmates, Chansky, the victim and other witnesses before charging the officer with battery.Possible Legal Defenses
There are a number of options available to defendants when charged with assault and battery, depending on the nature of the circumstances.
For example, the defendant may be able to use the self-defense option. This is applicable where the victim initiated an attack or threatened violence and the defendant merely reacted to protect themselves.
Self-defense is a popular form of defense in assault and battery cases. The defendant would still need to prove that their response to any threats or violence from the victim was not disproportionate and unreasonable.
Another possible defense is to provide evidence of consent from the other party. Any form of physical contact, even so much as an act of touching or a poke can be tried in court as battery. If the defendant can prove that the other party consented to their actions however, it is grounds for a legal defense. Take the example of contact sports like football where it is expected that all players are aware of the possibility of pushing, shoving and possibility of injury.
A person may also be able to put up a defense in the case of an assault where they can prove to the court that their actions were not actually meant to cause alarm for the aggrieved party and the person had over-reacted to the perceived threat. It should be noted here that the onus lies on the defendant to prove that their threat of assault should not have been taken as an assault.
Getting a good legal defense team can mean the difference between conviction and getting the case dismissed. Our legal expert can greatly improve your chance of a successful defense.