Domestic Battery and Spousal Abuse

Domestic battery is one of the most emotionally charged cases in the criminal justice system. This means it is also one of the most complicated cases to navigate. The State of Illinois takes these matters very seriously and has a zero-tolerance approach when addressing such cases. Most jurisdictions are extremely harsh against defendants. Even if the alleged victim chooses not to press charges, the government typically moves forward with a prosecution.

While many accusations of domestic battery have merit, some do not deserve the punishment they are given. These cases are often looked at with tremendous scrutiny, which often leads to the defendant not being treated as fairly as our justice system demands.

The complexity of domestic battery requires qualified criminal defense. Our attorneys have handled countless domestic battery cases, and we are committed to helping you reach the most favorable outcome possible.  We tenaciously pursue the truth and do everything we can to protect your rights.

If you face any kind of spousal abuse, domestic assault, or domestic battery-related charges, speak to one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

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The consequences of a domestic battery case extend beyond the courtroom. Your freedoms are at stake. An allegation of domestic abuse can have lasting consequences for your child custody arrangement, employment, and your reputation.

Results of a Domestic Battery Conviction

  • Jail
  • Probation
  • Costly Fines
  • Prison Time (in the most serious cases)
  • Limited Child Visitation Rights
  • Loss of Gun Privileges
  • Mandatory Domestic Violence Counseling
  • Drug and Alcohol Counseling

False Domestic Battery Claims

Unfortunately, some claims are complete falsehoods made out of spite or retaliation. Domestic battery claims are easy to fabricate, and an alleged victim can easily make exaggerated claims to law enforcement.

Our goal is to expose these false allegations as fabrications and reveal their deceitful nature. Scott W. Sheen & Associates will work to bring the truth to the forefront and clear your reputation of the stigmas associated with domestic battery. We also aim to have any restraining orders or protection orders removed in cases with false domestic battery claims.

When we take a case, we thoroughly investigate it from every angle. We will interview any witnesses. We look at medical records, injury photos, and any other evidence the prosecutors plan to use against you.

Domestic Battery Criminal Charges

  • Domestic battery is an assault charge
  • Usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor
  • Carries a penalty of up to 364 days in the county jail
  • Up to a $2,500 fine
  • Can be charged as a felony
    • Class 4 Felony: punishable from one to three years in the penitentiary plus probation
    • Class 2 Felony: punishable up to a year in jail plus probation
  • A second conviction within five years of your first requires a minimum of 48 consecutive hours in jail
  • The State can also enhance a second charge to a felony

Aggravated Domestic Battery

You are alleged to have choked, caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or you have multiple offenses of battery, or to an elderly, pregnant, or disabled person.

Bail Bond Requirements

There is a 72-hour Stay Away Order following your arrest and release from jail on bond. Generally, you cannot have contact of any kind with the alleged victim or return to the residence during this 72-hour period. Further, the typical bond also requires you not to have any harmful or offensive contact with the alleged victim after the 72 hours expiration.

As a condition of the bond, the court can also make you stay away from the alleged victim until further order of the court. This requires you to amend the condition of your bond to have contact with the alleged victim. You must file a motion with the court and have them grant such a motion for relief of the bond conditions.

  • Violation of the 72-hour Stay Away Order or violating the bail bond by having harmful or offensive contact with the alleged victim is a separate crime called Violation of Bail Bond.
  • If an Order of Protection is issued against you, any alleged violation of the order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,5000 fine.
  • This charge can be enhanced to a Class 4 Felony if you have any prior convictions for Domestic Battery or Violation of Order of Protection. Upon a conviction, there is a minimum of 24 hours in jail for a subsequent violation.
  • You can challenge the order of protection at a hearing or ask the court to modify the order to fit your personal preferences.

Right to Trial

  • You have the right to have either a jury trial or a bench trial.
  • Jury Trial: Either six or 12 people decide your guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the judge sentences you.
  • Bench Trial: The issues and facts are presented to the judge. They decide your innocence or guilt and determine your sentence.

Right to Trial

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The degree of proof needed for a jury or judge to convict an accused person of a crime.

The State must provide beyond a reasonable doubt that you made intentional physical contact with the alleged victim that was either a household member, a family member, or of a child in a common or dating relationship by:

  • Insulting or provoking or causing bodily harm
  • Without legal justification

Defenses

  • Self-defense: You were defending yourself from being struck, or the person put you in reasonable fear of receiving battery.
  • Parental consent or corporal punishment: You were disciplining your child. You have a right to use reasonable discipline for children under the age of 18.
  • Consent: The alleged victim permitted you to touch them.
  • Other: Lack of proof or lack of witnesses

Pleas

Blind Pleas: You enter a plea of guilty before a judge without an agreement with the State.

  • The court will sentence you after a sentencing hearing.
  • If you plead guilty to Domestic Battery or are found guilty, you will receive a mandatory conviction that will remain on your record.
  • You will be placed on conditional discharge or probation.
  • You may be required to:
    • Get an anger or violence evaluation
    • Complete anger or domestic counseling
    • Pay fines
    • Do community service
    • Get an alcohol or drug evaluation
    • Seek alcohol or drug counseling
    • Serve jail time
    • Report back to court for proof of ongoing participation in court-ordered counseling

Plea Agreements and Plea Bargains: An agreement between the State and the defendant wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty under specific terms and conditions.

Supervision is a type of sentence that allows you to avoid a conviction on your record. Supervision is not available in Domestic Battery cases. However, it is possible to convince the State to amend the charge from Domestic Battery to simple Battery. Supervision usually lasts one to two years.

It’s vital to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can advise you through this challenging period. Choosing the right attorney can mean the difference between a permanent criminal record and walking out of court, breathing a sigh of relief.

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