Unfortunately, many people who are simply defending themselves from an attack are charged with domestic battery in Chicago and the suburbs.
How does this happen? Perhaps more importantly, what can you do if it happens to you?
What to Do if You’re Accused of Domestic Violence
For most people accused of domestic violence, whether or not they’ve been officially charged with a crime, it’s a good idea to talk to a domestic violence defense lawyer. This is true whether they’re guilty or innocent – especially because anything a person says to investigators can (and will) be used against them in court.
Even people who are completely innocent of wrongdoing can benefit from having a domestic violence defense attorney; that’s because although our legal system is built on justice, all sorts of cases slip through the cracks.
How Does Self-Defense Fit In?
For most people, defending themselves is second-nature. If someone attacks you, you’ll do what you can to neutralize the threat.
However, in cases of domestic violence, the lines can become a bit blurry.
Sometimes police arrest the person who they think is the aggressor – and in that case, the person who was arrested may even be charged with aggravated domestic battery (aggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony in Illinois).
To make matters worse, the person making the accusation may choose to file for an order of protection. If someone files for an order of protection against you, you could be required to appear in court, lose your rights to your children, and prohibit you from entering your own home.
So what is self-defense?
Self-defense is the act of using (or attempting to use) force to protect yourself. You’re within your rights to defend yourself; the law doesn’t expect you to accept an attack without protecting yourself. However, you must reasonably believe that you’re about to be injured – and you can’t use more force than necessary. That means if a reasonable person in a situation just like yours would defend him- or herself, you would be within your rights to defend yourself, as well.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that if you were charged with a domestic violence offense in Chicago or the suburbs (including Skokie, Schaumburg or Rolling Meadows) because you defended yourself, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a Chicago domestic violence defense lawyer who can help protect you within the legal system.