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Consequences of a Domestic Battery Conviction in Illinois

The Yetter Law Group

A domestic battery conviction in the State of Illinois has dire consequences. Aside from the obvious embarrassment and strain on your interpersonal relationships, domestic battery/violence convictions always remain on your record. This is one conviction that can never be sealed or expunged under Illinois law, except in the unusual circumstance that a convicted batterer receives a Governor’s pardon.

The Elements of Domestic Battery

In the State of Illinois, domestic violence/domestic battery is committed if an individual knowingly and without legal justification causes bodily harm to or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with any family or household member. Family or household members are defined by the law as spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, and other persons related by blood or marriage, persons sharing or who have shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, and persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and caregivers.

Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Policy

Under Illinois law, police are required to make an arrest, and at least one party will spend the night in jail, which will be followed by a 72-hour “cooling off” period, whereby one party is instructed to remain out of the home. Although, often times alleged victims want to drop charges, State of Illinois law requires the charges to be prosecuted. For first-time offenders who are convicted, this Class A misdemeanor sentence can be up to 1 year of prison time. The offense becomes a Class 4 Felony upon a second conviction, leading to 1 to 3 years in prison. Under some circumstances probation is an alternative to jail time. However, if an individual has been convicted within the past 5 years, a mandatory 72 hours of jail time must be served.

How a Single Domestic Violence Conviction Can Affect Your Life

A domestic battery conviction can result in the limitation/loss of visitation or have unfavorable custody outcomes. Convicted offenders have difficulty getting some types of licensure and forfeit their 2nd Amendment right to carry a firearm. Many employers will not hire someone who has been convicted of domestic battery. Landlords and credit agencies also have access to the records of this conviction. Laws to protect domestic abuse victims are becoming increasingly proactive. However, this has taken away the ability of the police to exercise discretion in cases where the charges are being used manipulatively (e.g., in the case of divorce, where one partner wants the other removed from the home). The accusation of domestic battery alone yields serious consequences; therefore it’s imperative to have excellent representation when faced with domestic battery charges.

If you have been charged with domestic battery or another domestic violence crime in Wheaton, Saint Charles, Rolling Meadows, Chicago, or anywhere else throughout the State of Illinois, you need to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

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