What's the Difference Between Battery and Domestic Battery in Illinois - Chicago Domestic Battery Defense

In the state of Illinois, battery is a crime – but it’s a different crime from domestic battery, which can only occur under certain circumstances.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the Difference Between Battery and Domestic Battery in Illinois?

Battery and domestic battery are two distinct crimes, and although they’re similar, they’re charged differently.


Battery is the crime of causing bodily harm to an individual or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. In plain language, that means it’s a crime someone commits when they harm someone or touch them in an offensive way (such as shoving, for example). Even some kind of touch that doesn’t cause any injury can be considered battery under Illinois law.

Typically, battery is a Class A misdemeanor. However, aggravated battery – the more serious version of battery – is a felony. Aggravated battery occurs when someone:

  • Intentionally or knowingly causes another person great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Uses a deadly weapon
  • Is hooded, robed or masked in a way that conceals their identity
  • Know that the person is a specific person (like a teacher, a community policing volunteer or an emergency medical technician) performing official duties

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is similar to battery, but it happens when the accused and the alleged victim share a certain relationship. The victim has to be a family or household member, which includes:

  • Spouses
  • Ex-spouses
  • Blood-related family members
  • Co-parents
  • Current or former roommates
  • Disabled or elderly adults and caregivers
  • Individuals related by blood through a child
  • Parents and children
  • Stepparents and children

It’s still a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, it can become a Class 4 felony if it involves a child, it was committed using a firearm, or it involves sexual assault.

Differences Between Domestic Battery and BatteryAggravated domestic battery is a Class 2 felony. A domestic battery becomes “aggravated” when the defendant (the person accused of committing the crime) intentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim. It also applies to cases in which the defendant chokes the alleged victim or blocks his or her ability to breathe. If you’re convicted of aggravated domestic battery as a Class 2 felony, you could go to prison for up to 7 years – and if it’s your second, third or subsequent conviction, you could go to prison for up to 14 years.

The Difference Between Battery and Domestic Battery

The main difference between battery and domestic battery is the relationship between the people involved. If you allegedly hit a stranger or someone who’s never lived with you, you’d be charged with battery.

If it’s someone you share a relationship with (by blood or marriage), someone you have a responsibility to care for (such as a disabled or elderly person), or someone you have lived with (now or in the past), you’ll most likely be charged with domestic battery.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Domestic Battery Charges?

If you’ve been accused of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery, we may be able to help you.

Call us right now at 847-920-4540 to tell us what happened or fill out the form below so we can get back to you. We’ll start building a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

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