If you are facing domestic violence charges, you may know that a conviction could irreparably affect your life in many ways. Domestic violence related offenses are serious crimes and there are severe consequences for individuals who are convicted on these charges, including separation from family and friends and restrictions on basic rights and freedoms enjoyed before the conviction. However, depending upon the circumstances that led to the charges, there may be options available to minimize the negative consequences, such as plea negotiations, treatment programs, suspended sentencing, or reduced sentences. Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer Gbenga Longe understands all of the options that may be available to defendants who are charged with domestic violence and she can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your criminal case.
Criminal Domestic Violence
Criminal Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a category of criminal offenses that may be charged when the purported victim and the alleged perpetrator are members of the same family or household. Since there are many definitions of the word “family” and multiple definitions of the word “household,” it is important to understand to which category of parties the domestic violence laws in Illinois apply. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, 750 ILCS 60/101 et seq., blood relatives or relatives by marriage, such as spouses, children, and stepchildren, are considered family or household members. In addition, former spouses, people who have a child in common, people who presently share or who previously shared a living space, individuals who are dating or engaged, and disabled individuals and their caregivers are all considered family or household members.
Domestic Violence Offenses in Illinois
The Illinois Comparative Statutes recognize several types of domestic violence offenses, including the following:
- Domestic battery – Occurs when a person intentionally causes bodily harm to a family or household member;
- Aggravated domestic battery – A form of domestic battery during which the alleged perpetrator strangles the purported victim or causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement;
- Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence – Occurs when an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence prevents or attempts to prevent the purported victim or someone who witnessed the act of violence from reporting it to the police, calling 911, or obtaining medical attention; and
- Violation of a protective order – Occurs when an individual does or fails to do something as prescribed by an Order of Protection that applies to them, such as failing to move out of the petitioner’s residence or harassing the petitioner.
Possible Consequences of Conviction
If you are convicted of a domestic violence offense, you may have to go to jail, pay a fine, or both. The potential consequences of the aforementioned domestic violence offenses are as follows:
- Domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence are Class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by less than a year in jail and a fine of twenty five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) or less;
- Aggravated Domestic Battery is a Class 2 felony, which will result in at least 60 days of imprisonment as part of any sentence that includes probation or conditional discharge or a minimum sentence of three years for anyone who has a previous conviction for aggravated domestic battery;
- Non-aggravated domestic battery is charged as a Class 4 felony when the defendant has a prior conviction for domestic battery, violating an order of protection, or some other violent crime where the victim was a family or household member. If a person is convicted of a Class 4 felony, he may be sentenced to up to six years in prison and fined up to twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000.00); and
- Violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the respondent has a prior conviction for violation of a protective order, domestic battery, or a violent crime against a family or household member. In those situations, it is a Class 4 felony.