Domestic Violence

Aurora and Plainfield Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

In Illinois, crimes of “Domestic Violence” include crimes such as Domestic Battery, Aggravated Domestic Battery, Violation of Orders of Protection, Stalking, and Aggravated Stalking. Most crimes of domestic violence are committed against “family or household members”.

What is a Family or Household Member?

750 ILCS 60/103(6)

“Family or household members” is defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 as including spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers as defined in Section 12-4.4a of the Criminal Code of 2012. For purposes of this paragraph, neither a casual acquaintanceship nor ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in business or social contexts shall be deemed to constitute a dating relationship. In the case of a high-risk adult with disabilities, “family or household members” includes any person who has the responsibility for a high-risk adult as a result of a family relationship or who has assumed responsibility for all or a portion of the care of a high-risk adult with disabilities voluntarily, or by express or implied contract, or by court order. Note, this is the Illinois definition of “Family or Household Member”, which is broader than the definition of “Family or Household Member” contained within 18 USC 922 (g).

What is Domestic Battery?

720 ILCS 5/12-3.2

Domestic batteries can be charged in two different ways. The first way a person commits domestic battery is if they cause bodily harm to a family or household member. The second way a person commits domestic battery is if they make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member. The most common question my Naperville office has received when dealing with domestic battery cases is, “Why am I charged twice for the same thing?” The answer is generally that you have been charged under both legal theories of domestic battery.

When you have been charged with Domestic Battery, you are typically ordered by the Court to “have no contact with the victim” and to “turn over all firearms” as conditions of bond. Although the statute technically only requires 72 hours of no contact with the victim, Courts in DuPage and Will County often order you to have no contact with the victim for the duration of the case or until further order of the Court. When the Court orders “no contact”, that means no direct or indirect contact. You may not have a friend make contact. Even the victim cannot give you permission to contact them. Only the Judge can give you permission by modifying your bond conditions. What that means is even if you have been contacted by the victim, you may not communicate back or else you will be in violation of the Court’s order and could have your bond revoked.

First time offenses for Domestic Battery are considered “Class A Misdemeanors”. However, there are several specific sentencing requirements for Domestic Batteries. In most situations, a disposition of “Court Supervision” is not available. That means a conviction and a mark against your record is the most common disposition for Domestic Battery cases. Further, there are often implications for any firearm owner identification license.

What is Aggravated Domestic Battery?

720 ILCS 5/12-3.3

The difference between domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery is frequently the degree of harm. If the victim suffers “great bodily harm”, “permanent disability”, or “permanent disfigurement”, or even if the victim’s normal breath and blood circulation is impaired in any way by the Defendant, the Defendant can be charged with aggravated domestic battery, which is a class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years in prison. If the Defendant commits a second aggravated domestic battery, there is the potential to be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

What is a Violation of an Order of Protection?

720 ILCS 5/12-3.4

Violations of orders of protection, or “voop” for short, is a charge essentially alleging the Defendant has had some sort of contact with the Victim which was prohibited by a valid order of protection. As an additional element, the Defendant must have been “Served notice of the contents of the order”. Similar to bond conditions, a Victim cannot give Defendant’s permission to contact them if the Court has entered an order prohibiting contact. The only way to permit contact once again is for the Court to permit contact. Violations of orders of protection are class A misdemeanors, which can be “enhanced” to class 4 felonies if there is a prior act of domestic violence.

Special Evidentiary Rules

725 ILCS 5/115-7.4, 725 ILCS 5/115-10.2a

As a general rule, evidence of a previous conviction is inadmissible as evidence at trial. However, the legislature has enacted a series of rules in order to permit prior evidence of domestic violence to be considered as evidence. For example the law considers previous acts of domestic violence admissible evidence under 7.4(a). In addition, certain types of hearsay evidence which are normally inadmissible are admissible under section 10.2a. All of this adds up to the State having an easier path to convicting Defendants.

Special Penalties

The penalty for domestic battery, violation of order of protection, or stalking can be “enhanced” if there is a prior conviction. As a general matter, this raises misdemeanor charges to felony matters. Further, some counties will require Defendants to go through a domestic abuse prevention program. For example, if you were charged with Domestic Battery in Naperville, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office frequently requires an intervention program. Details of the intervention program can be found here: https://www.dupageco.org/Community_Services/Psychological_Services/1331/

If you’ve been charged with committing an act of domestic violence, you should contact a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Ken Wang LLC. in Naperville, DuPage County, Illinois. We offer a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend consultations are also available by appointment.

DISCLAIMER

The information on this page is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. It does not equal or replace legal consultation with a qualified Illinois criminal defense attorney. The information on this page should not be relied upon as legal advice from the Law Office of Ken Wang LLC. in Naperville, DuPage County, Illinois.