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Domestic Battery

The Domestic Violence Law Firm of David Olshansky & Associates has defended hundreds of people charged with Domestic battery. In Chicago the crime of Domestic Battery is most commonly charged as a Class A Misdemeanor and the case is handled at the Courthouse located at 555 W. Harrison Street. The office of David Olshansky & Associates is conveniently located a few blocks from the Courthouse.

Domestic Battery is most commonly charged under Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2. The law states that the person commits the offense of domestic battery if they knowingly and without justification either causes bodily harm or makes contact of an insulting or provoking nature to a family or household member.

What Type of Contact Qualifies as Domestic Battery?

The charge of bodily harm usually includes some sort of physical attack, including, but not limited to punching, kicking, choking, biting, scratching, grabbing, and pushing that causes some type of injury however slight. However, there does not have to be an injury. A person can be charged with domestic battery simply by making contact of an insulting or provoking nature such as spitting on a person or slapping them, or touching them in a way that, although doesn’t cause any injury, is deemed insulting or provoking.

Which Victims Qualify as Victims of Domestic Battery?

Victims can be family members such as current or former spouses, brothers or sisters, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, or any other blood related person, or persons who have or had a dating relationship, and people who do, or used to, live in the same house, or dwelling, including roommates.

The Penalties for Domestic Battery

Domestic Battery is most commonly charged in Chicago as a Class A Misdemeanor punishable up to one year in jail and fines up to $2500. Although jail time doesn’t always happen with a conviction there are many other consequences to a Domestic Battery conviction. Upon conviction the court will order Domestic Violence counseling classes, usually a stay away order of protection for the victim, and unlike most other misdemeanor charges, the Court Supervision statute that allows a guilty finding to be a non-conviction, a conviction for Domestic Battery cannot be one of Court Supervision and therefore it cannot be sealed or expunged.

Sometimes Domestic Battery Can Be a Felony!

If a person has a prior conviction for Domestic Battery, a Violation of an Order of Protection, or other various enumerated violent offenses it can be an upgraded charge of a Class 4 felony. A Class Four Felony is punishable in the State Penitentiary by one to three years of incarceration. A charge of Domestic Battery can also be upgraded to a Class 2 Felony if the accused has 3 prior convictions for Domestic Battery. A Class Two Felony requires a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail, and is punishable by 3 to 7 years in the State Penitentiary. The crime of Domestic Battery gets enhanced to a Class 2 Felony if the accused has four or more prior Domestic Battery convictions.

Defenses to Domestic Battery

There are many defenses to Domestic Battery, the first being that the State cannot prove that the offense occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused often has a Self Defense argument where the argument is made that a reasonable use of force is justified when the accused was the one being attacked by the other person. It is very common that many of these Domestic Battery cases stem from arguments over things like infidelity, finances, children, and discovery of additional people in the accused life that the alleged victim doesn’t approve of. Often when these arguments start they can turn physical. If the accused acts in a reasonable manner to defend themselves against the other person the court will look at the circumstances and decide whether the physical altercation was one that was a mutual fight and then have to decide if the State has proven who the initial aggressor was. There are many other defenses to these cases, and The Domestic Violence Law Firm of David Olshansky has used everyone of them. There are also issues with the admissibility of text messages, social media posts such as Facebook, and email because all of the aforementioned can be fabricated and a proper foundation is necessary under the Illinois Rules of Evidence.

Your Right to Own a Firearm During the Charges and After

Both the Illinois Statues and the Federal Government have enacted laws that prohibit gun ownership by persons convicted of Domestic Battery. In Illinois the law states the upon conviction of domestic battery, the court shall advise the defendant orally or in writing, substantially as follows: "An individual convicted of domestic battery may be subject to federal criminal penalties for possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving any firearm or ammunition in violation of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) and (9))." A notation shall be made in the court file that the admonition was given. The Federal Law is nicknames “the Lautenberg Amendment” named after the New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg who proposed the legislation, This prohibition of gun ownership can have significant consequences to people that may need to carry a firearm for employment purposes. Police officers, Military personnel, and armed security guards all face the potential of criminal prosecution should they become convicted, making loss of employment a very serious consequence to even a low level misdemeanor offense.