- Assault & Battery Cases
- Assault and batteries, though often confused as the same charge, are two different and separate counts in the court of law. Assault is described as a violent crime that causes another person to expect some sort of harm or bodily violence; it may be an attempt at harm or threatening action, but no physical contact is necessary. Battery is a more serious criminal offence, usually accompanied with assault charges. Battery results in either bodily injury or physical contact that is offensive to another.
- Consequences for Battery Charges in Chicago IL
- Battery in the United States is an unlawful application of force to another person that result in bodily injury or touching that is undesired by another. Battery must involve a forceful action that is unwanted by the other party who brought forth the charges.
- Different types of charges include:
- An assault under Illinois law occurs when a person knowingly acts without legal authority in a way that puts another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. 720 ILCS 5/12-1. This is also called a simple assault. A battery occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly causes another bodily harm, or causes physical contact of a provocative or insulting nature by any means. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.
Despite the use of the word apprehension in the definition of assault, for an assault to occur, the person being assaulted does not necessarily have to be afraid of the person committing the assault. The victim only has to reasonably fear, that is, think or believe that a battery is about to occur. So a larger or seemingly stronger person can be in fear of battery from a smaller or seemingly weaker person.
Your Chicago assault defense attorney can explain that, during a prosecution for assault, the victim does not have to personally testify to prove the “apprehension of a battery” part of an assault charge. The judge or jury can reasonably infer that the victim was in apprehension of a battery based on the facts of the case. People v. Harkey,69 Ill. App. 3d 94 (1979).
Examples of assault include a person raising a fist at another person, or threatening someone with a weapon such as a gun. The use of a gun or another deadly weapon is defined as aggravated assault, and is a much more severe offense than simple assault. In addition, if a person tries to hit another person but misses, this conduct can be enough for an assault charge. Threatening a person with words alone is often not enough for an assault charge, but this may depend on the particular facts of a case.
Defense to Assault Charges
The defenses that are available in a battery case can sometimes be used in an assault case. For example, if you were defending yourself or your property by threatening to hit someone, you may argue that you were acting in self-defense. The facts of your particular case may also provide a good defense to an assault charge. If you did something, such as throw a punch to hit someone, but the person you tried to hit did not see you throw the punch, it is unlikely that you can be charged with assault. Because assault relies on the victim’s apprehension of an impending battery, the victim has to see the punch coming. In other words, the victim cannot be in fear of being hit if the victim does not expect it. An experienced criminal defense attorney can better advise you as to the best defense to use in your particular case.
Assault is a class C misdemeanor in Illinois. 720 ILCS 5/12-1(c). As a class C misdemeanor, the maximum amount of time a defendant may be sentenced to is 30 days, and a fine of up to $1,500. The judge may also require the defendant to perform up to 100 hours of community service.
Aggravated assault is a crime that derives from a less serious offense, simple assault. Simple assault under Illinois law occurs when a person knowingly does something, without legal authority, that puts another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. 720 ILCS 5/12-1. If someone lifts a fist at another person, and the other person is afraid that they are about to be hit, the person with the raised fist is considered to have committed an assault. Aggravated assault is defined as committing a simple assault in a certain location, under certain conditions, or against certain groups of people. 720 ILCS 5/12-2. In all cases it is important to contact a Chicago aggravated assault lawyer to protect your rights after an arrest.
Committing an assault in a particular location can change the simple assault charge into an aggravated assault charge. This can happen if the assault is committed in the following public places; places of accommodation, amusement parks, sports venues or a public street. 720 ILCS 5/12-2(a).
Against Certain Groups of People
Simple assaults that are committed against certain people can be characterized as aggravated assaults if the person committing the assault is aware of the victim’s status as one of the following people. 720 ILCS 5/12-2(b):
Physically handicapped people or a people over 60 years old.
Teachers or other school employees while on school property, or on property that is used for school.
Park district employees.
A peace officer, correctional officer, probation officer, fireman, private security officer, emergency medical technician, or certain employees of a correctional institution and the Department of Human Resources while these employees are:
(i) Performing official duties;
(ii) Assaulted to prevent performance of official duties; or
(iii) Assaulted in retaliation for performing official duties.
Employees of the State of Illinois or certain city employees within the State, while the employee is performing his or her official duties.
Transit employees, such as a CTA bus driver, performing his or her official duties, or a transit passenger.
A sports official or coach while he or she is participating in competition.
A process server while he or she is serving papers.
Use of Weapons or Objects
In the final definition, a person who commits an assault using a weapon or in any of the following ways may be charged with aggravated assault. 720 ILCS 5/12-2(c):
Uses a deadly weapon, including a gun or anything that is designed or manufactured to look like a firearm, without firing it.
Fires a gun, including from a car, as in a drive by shooting.
Conceals his or her identity by wearing a hood, robe, or mask.
Uses a gun, without firing it, against law enforcement or emergency medical personnel, while he or she is:
(i) performing his or her official duties;
(ii) assaulted to prevent performance of his or her official duties; or
(iii) assaulted in retaliation for performing his or her official duties.
Drives a car in a way that causes another person to think they are about to be hit by the car.
Aggravated assault can be a misdemeanor, or in some cases, a felony, depending on which of the above definition a person’s conduct falls under. The penalties for misdemeanors and felonies vary. In addition to terms of imprisonment, a person charged with aggravated assault may also have to pay fines and complete community service.
- Sexual battery
- Simple battery
- Family-violence battery
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated battery and great bodily harm
- Aggravated domestic battery
- Aggravated battery of senior citizen
- Aggravated battery of a child
- Aggravated battery of a police officer
- In order to be convicted of battery there are basic elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Often charges of battery and assault cases especially, stories are fabricated by the victim bringing forth the charges. Because it is often difficult to find witnesses in these cases, the judge or jury needs to decide if the charges can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Domestic Battery and Abuse