The Basics on Domestic Battery in Illinois

Domestic battery is a very serious crime in Illinois – and if you’re convicted of it, you’re facing jail or prison time. Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics on Domestic Battery in Illinois

Domestic battery falls into two categories: domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery. Standard domestic battery involves physical harm to another person (the alleged victim). It can also – or instead – refer to unwanted phyysical contact, insulting contact or provoking physical contact. Illinois law says:

(a) A person commits domestic battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means:
(1) causes bodily harm to any family or household member;
(2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member.

Aggravated domestic battery is another story. The penalties are definitely harsher. The law says that aggravated domestic battery is as follows:

(a) A person who, in committing a domestic battery, knowingly causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement commits aggravated domestic battery.

(a-5) A person who, in committing a domestic battery, strangles another individual commits aggravated domestic battery. For the purposes of this subsection

(a-5), “strangle” means intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of an individual by applying pressure on the throat or neck of that individual or by blocking the nose or mouth of that individual.

Related: Domestic battery and jail time

So Who is a Family or Household Member?

When it comes to domestic battery, the state of Illinois counts many relationships under the umbrella of “family or household member.” If the alleged victim falls into one of these categories, it’s not battery; it’s domestic battery. These are family or household members under Illinois law:

  • Spouses
  • Ex-spouses
  • Blood-related family members
  • Co-parents
  • Current roommates
  • Elderly adults and caregivers
  • Disabled adults and caregivers
  • Former roommates
  • Individuals related by blood through a child
  • Parent-child
  • Stepparent-child

Is Domestic Battery a Felony or Misdemeanor?

Domestic battery can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois. Often, a first offense is a Class A misdemeanor. However, it can be elevated to a Class 2 or Class 4 felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Related: When is domestic battery a Class 4 felony in Illinois?

Can You Defend Yourself From Domestic Battery Charges?

There are several defenses available to a domestic battery charge. Many people can successfully claim they were defending themselves, while others claim that the battery never actually happened. No matter what, though, your attorney will evaluate your case and figure out what is likely to get you the best possible outcome.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Domestic Battery Defense in Chicago?

If you’ve been accused of domestic battery, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 847-920-4540 for a free case review. We’ll talk about your situation and determine the best path forward.