Domestic battery is a type of crime in Illinois (and in many other states) that requires the victim to be a family or household member of the alleged perpetrator. Really, what that means is that it’s the crime of committing battery against someone you live with or have a familial relationship with.
What Does Domestic Battery Mean?
Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor – the most serious type of misdemeanor in Illinois – in most cases. However, in some cases, it becomes a Class 4 felony (but more on that later).
You commit domestic battery if you knowingly, and without legal justification:
- Cause bodily harm to any family or household member
- Make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member
Domestic battery means that the victim is a household or family member, as well. People who fall under this category include:
- Blood-related family members
- Current or former roommates
- Disabled or elderly adults and caregivers
- Individuals related by blood through a child
- Parents and children
- Stepparents and children
A Word on Legal Justification
The law says that you have to “knowingly and without legal justification” cause harm or make physical contact with someone – but what is legal justification?
It’s when you would legally be allowed to cause bodily harm to someone, such as when they’re about to kill or seriously harm you or someone else (or you reasonably believe they will). If you’re not sure about how it applies in your case, or if you have a special circumstance that makes you believe you were legally justified, talk to your domestic battery defense lawyer – he’ll be able to give you the guidance you need.
When is Domestic Battery a Felony Instead of a Misdemeanor?
Domestic battery can become a Class 4 felony if it involves:
- A firearm
- A child
- Sexual assault
Have You Been Accused of Domestic Battery?
If you’ve been accused of domestic battery, or if you just need more help distinguishing between a battery and domestic battery case because you’ve been charged with either, we can help you.
Call us right away at 847-920-4540 for a free case review with a Chicago domestic battery defense attorney. If it’s easier, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you.