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Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges in Illinois
The state of Illinois takes domestic violence cases very seriously. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you could face over a decade in prison and thousands of dollars in penalties, depending on the circumstances of your case. To ensure your legal rights are thoroughly protected throughout your case, it is necessary to hire an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Attorney David L. Freidberg has proudly represented clients throughout the Chicago area for more than twenty years. With his legal guidance, you will have the best representation possible in your case.
Domestic Violence Defined
The legal definition of domestic violence is set out in 750 ILCS/60. Domestic violence charges are only able to be brought against someone if 1) a specific type of act was committed 2) against a specific type of person.
Domestic violence charges may be filed if the accused and the alleged victim had one of the following relationships:
- Former spouses
- Those who have children in common
- Those who have previously shared a residence
- Those who have been engaged or have previously dated (regardless of their gender)
- Disabled individuals and their caretakers
Abuse may include the following acts:
- Harassing someone by phone or text
- Interfering with someone’s job
- Following or stalking someone
- Threatening someone
- Preventing someone from seeing their children
- Forcing someone to have sex
- Preventing someone from leaving
- Forcing someone to do something against their will
- Preventing a handicapped individual from obtaining the care they need
- Forcing a child or other individual to watch the abusive acts outlined above
If an individual in one of the relationships noted above commits one of these acts, that individual may be charged with domestic violence.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The penalties for domestic violence in Illinois are laid out in 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 et seq.
In Illinois, domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, as well as probation and a fine of up to $2,500. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious types of misdemeanors.
However, domestic battery is elevated to a Class 4 felony if any of the following circumstances are met:
The accused has a prior conviction under Illinois’ criminal laws for:
- Violating an order of protection;
- Attempted murder;
- First-degree murder;
- Aggravated domestic battery;
- Aggravated battery;
- Heinous battery;
- Aggravated battery with a firearm;
- Aggravated battery with a machine gun or firearm equipped with a silencer
- Aggravated battery of a child
- Aggravated battery of an unborn child
- Aggravated battery of a senior citizen
- Aggravated stalking
- Criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse
- Unlawful restraint
- Aggravated unlawful restraint
- Aggravated arson
- Aggravated discharge of a firearm
Domestic battery also becomes a Class 4 felony if the accused has one or two prior convictions for domestic battery.
Class 4 felonies are punishable by imprisonment of between 1 and 3 years. A fine of up to $25,000 may also be ordered.
Domestic battery becomes a class 3 felony if the accused had 3 prior convictions for domestic battery.
Class 3 felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of between 2 and 5 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Domestic battery becomes a class 2 felony if the accused had 4 or more prior domestic battery convictions. Class 2 felonies are punishable by prison terms of between 3 and 7 years, as well as a fine of up to $25,000.
Additionally, if someone is convicted of an Aggravated Domestic Battery, it is a condition that the offender serve a mandatory term of imprisonment of not less than 60 consecutive days.
For subsequent domestic battery convictions, the accused must be sentenced to at least 72 hours of imprisonment. This sentence is mandatory—a judge cannot suspend it or reduce it by ordering probation instead.
If domestic violence occurs in front of a minor, the defendant must serve at least 300 hours of community service or ten days in jail. The judge may also order both prison time and community service. The court may also require the accused to cover the cost of any counseling the child needs following the incident.
Firearms and Domestic Violence Convictions
In addition to the punishments listed in the previous paragraphs, your right to own a firearm is also affected by a domestic violence conviction.
In Illinois, one must possess a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card to own a firearm.
Any domestic violence conviction will permanently prohibit an individual from obtaining a FOID card in Illinois. If you already own firearms, it is likely that you will have to turn those over, along with your FOID card.
To Protect Your Rights, Hire an Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you need to speak with an experienced attorney as quickly as you can to guarantee the best defense possible is presented in your case. A domestic violence conviction has serious, permanent consequences on your personal life, your career, and your civil liberties.
There are numerous defenses available in domestic violence cases. You may be able to argue self-defense or prove that your accuser was not telling the truth. Your attorney will carefully study the facts of your case and determine what defenses are available. Without a lawyer, you may not even realize all of the possible defenses you are able to raise.
Many individuals are able to have their domestic violence charges reduced or even dismissed after their attorneys prove that there is not enough evidence to support a criminal conviction.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg is Experienced in Domestic Violence Charges
With more than 25 years of experience, David L. Freidberg offers excellent legal guidance and expertise to his clients, including those that are facing serious domestic violence charges. Our firm aggressively pursues all avenues of recovery to ensure you receive the best representation possible. To set up your free consultation, simple contact us or call our firm at 312-560-7100.
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