In Illinois, the crime of battery is defined by 720 ILCS 5/12 3 to be when a person “intentionally or knowingly without legal justification and by any means, (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.” Put another way, battery in Illinois is the crime a person commits when whey cause harm to someone, or touch them in an offense way. Thus, even a light touch that doesn’t cause injury is a battery. In Illinois, battery is a Class A misdemeanor, meaning that the maximum penalty is up to a year in the county jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.00.
Aggravated battery is a more serious form of battery in Illinois, and is a felony. Due to the way that the Illinois aggravated battery law is written, almost any battery in Illinois could be charged as an aggravated battery, making the maximum penalty 5 years in an Illinois state prison, and a fine of $10,000.00. 720 ILCS 5/12 4 defines the many factors, any one of which is enough to transform an ordinary battery to an aggravated battery. These factors can be briefly summarized up by saying that a person commits aggravated battery if they:
- Intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement
- Use a deadly weapon
- Are hooded, robed or masked, in such manner as to conceal their identity
- Know the individual harmed to be a teacher or other person employed in any school and such teacher or other employee is on school property
- Know the individual harmed to be a community policing volunteer while such volunteer is engaged in the execution of any official duties, or to prevent the volunteer from performing official duties, or in retaliation for the volunteer performing official duties, and the battery is committed other than by the discharge of a firearm;
- Know the individual harmed to be an emergency medical technician who is at work
- Is, or the person battered is, on or about a public way, public property or public place of accommodation or amusement
- Is, or the person battered is, on a publicly or privately owned sports or entertainment arena, stadium, community or convention hall the day of an event
- Know the individual harmed to be the driver or passenger of public transportation
- Know the individual harmed to be an individual of 60 years of age or older
- Know the individual harmed is pregnant
- Knows the individual harmed to be a judge whom the person intended to harm as a result of the judge’s performance of his or her official duties as a judge
- Knows the individual harmed to be a person who is physically handicapped
- Causes bodily harm to a merchant who detains the person for an alleged commission of retail theft
- Is, or the person battered is, in any building used as a domestic violence shelter
- Knows the individual harmed to be an officer or employee of the State of Illinois
- Knows the individual harmed to be an emergencymanagement worker engaged in the performance of any of his or her official duties
- Knows the individual harmed to be a private security officer who is at work
- Knows the individual harmed to be a taxi driver and the battery is committed while the taxi driver is on duty
- Knows the individual harmed to be a utility worker who is on duty
An even more serious battery charge, called Heinous Battery, also exists in Illinois.
Anyone charged with battery or aggravated battery is wise to quickly retain a skilled lawyer. Having the right attorney is important in a battery or aggravated battery case, given the serious penalties that can be imposed if a person is convicted.