The crime of domestic battery is defined by 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 as the crime a person commits when he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means causes bodily harm to any family or household member, or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.
Domestic battery in Illinois is often a Class A misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty is up to a year in the county jail. However, there are also felony versions of domestic battery that can result in a prison sentence.
The felony version of domestic battery is charged under certain cases, such as but not limited to the following:
- If the defendant has any prior conviction under this Code for violation of an order of protection
- If the defendant has any prior conviction for first degree murder, attempted murder (Section 9-1), attempt to commit first degree murder (Section 8-4), aggravated domestic battery (Section 12-3.3), aggravated battery (Section 12-3.05 or 12-4), heinous battery (Section 12-4.1), aggravated battery with a firearm (Section 12-4.2), aggravated battery with a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer (Section 12-4.2-5), aggravated battery of a child (Section 12-4.3), aggravated battery of an unborn child (subsection (a-5) of Section 12-3.1, or Section 12-4.4), aggravated battery of a senior citizen (Section 12-4.6), stalking (Section 12-7.3), aggravated stalking (Section 12-7.4), criminal sexual assault (Section 11-1.20 or 12-13), aggravated criminal sexual assault (Section 11-1.30 or 12-14), kidnapping (Section 10-1), aggravated kidnapping (Section 10-2), predatory criminal sexual assault of a child (Section 11-1.40 or 12-14.1), aggravated criminal sexual abuse (Section 11-1.60 or 12-16), unlawful restraint (Section 10-3), aggravated unlawful restraint (Section 10-3.1), aggravated arson (Section 20-1.1), or aggravated discharge of a firearm (Section 24-1.2), or any prior conviction under the law of another jurisdiction for any offense that is substantially similar to the offenses listed in this Section, when any of these offenses have been committed against a family or household member. Domestic battery is a Class 4 felony if the defendant has one or 2 prior convictions under this Code for domestic battery (Section 12-3.2), or one or 2 prior convictions under the law of another jurisdiction for any offense which is substantially similar.
- If the defendant has 3 prior convictions for domestic battery
A seconds or subsequent domestic battery conviction in Illinois carries with it a mandatory minimum term of 72 hours in the county jail, which the court cannot suspend. The most serious domestic battery charge in Illinois is a Class 2 felony, which can carry a prison term of up to 7 years.
People convicted of domestic battery under Illinois law where a child was present can result in an enhanced minimum sentence of 10 days in jail or 300 hours of community service, and can also be made to pay the costs of counseling for the child if the court finds that doing so is appropriate.
It is also important to note that a conviction for domestic battery in Illinois results in a person being barred by both state and federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Finally, a domestic battery conviction can have a significant effect upon the outcome of pending or future custody cases.
For all of those reasons, a domestic battery charge in Illinois is a serious case that must be handled properly. A person who is accused of domestic battery is wise to exercise their right to remain silent and seek an attorney at once, so as to protect their legal rights and interests.