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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 12: Mutilation Crimes

Though they may seem unusual, crimes of mutilation are discussed in this portion of the Illinois Criminal Code.

One might guess that the first crime listed in this section is unique to Illinois; it discusses the crime of tongue splitting. Unless licensed in medicine, a person cannot split another persons tongue into two or more pieces. For a first offense, a defendant is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor.

Next, many laws govern the operation of tattoo and body piercing shops, and in most cases minors are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian before patronizing the shops services. Illinois law prohibits any person from falsely representing themselves as the parent or guardian of a minor. This crime of false representation is classified as a Class C misdemeanor.

Lastly, these sections prohibit ritual violence or mutilation. These crimes include ritual mutilation, ritualized abuse of a child, and female genital mutilation. The first, ritual mutilation, forbids any person from mutilating or torturing another person in a ceremony or rite when consent has not been given. A serious crime, a conviction carries Class 2 felony status. When a person he involves a child in a rite or ceremony containing violent, sexual, or morbid content, he could be charged with ritualized abuse of a child. For a first offense, a defendant is guilty of a Class 1 felony. Finally, the crime of female genital mutilation can be prosecuted if a person circumcises or excises any part of a females genitalia. Even if the subject has given consent, a defendant may still be found guilty. A conviction carries a Class X felony status.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for a mutilation crime in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Sec. 12-10. Tattooing Body of Minor.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-10)

(a) Any person, other than a person licensed to practice medicine in all its branches, who tattoos or offers to tattoo a person under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) Any person who is an owner or employed by a business that performs tattooing, other than a person licensed to practice medicine in all its branches, may not permit a person under 18 years of age to enter or remain on the premises where tattooing is being performed unless the person under 18 years of age is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian. A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) As used in this Section, to "tattoo" means to insert pigment under the surface of the skin of a human being, by pricking with a needle or otherwise, so as to produce an indelible mark or figure visible through the skin.

(d) Subsection (a) of this Section does not apply to a person under 18 years of age who tattoos or offers to tattoo another person under 18 years of age away from the premises of any business at which tattooing is performed.(Source: P.A. 94-684, eff. 1-1-06.)

Sec. 12-10.1. Piercing the body of a minor.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-10.1)

(a)(1) Any person who pierces the body or oral cavity of a person under 18 years of age without written consent of a parent or legal guardian of that person commits the offense of piercing the body of a minor. Before the oral cavity of a person under 18 years of age may be pierced, the written consent form signed by the parent or legal guardian must contain a provision in substantially the following form:

"I understand that the oral piercing of the tongue, lips, cheeks, or any other area of the oral cavity carries serious risk of infection or damage to the mouth and teeth, or both infection and damage to those areas, that could result but is not limited to nerve damage, numbness, and life threatening blood clots.".

A person who pierces the oral cavity of a person under

18 years of age without obtaining a signed written consent form from a parent or legal guardian of the person that includes the provision describing the health risks of body piercing, violates this Section.

(1.5) Any person who is an owner or employed by a business that performs body piercing may not permit a person under 18 years of age to enter or remain on the premises where body piercing is being performed unless the person under 18 years of age is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian.

(2) Sentence. A violation of clause (a)(1) or (a)(1.5) of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) Definition. As used in this Section, to "pierce" means to make a hole in the body or oral cavity in order to insert or allow the insertion of any ring, hoop, stud, or other object for the purpose of ornamentation of the body. "Piercing" does not include tongue splitting as defined in Section 12-10.2.

(c) Exceptions. This Section may not be construed in any way to prohibit any injection, incision, acupuncture, or similar medical or dental procedure performed by a licensed health care professional or other person authorized to perform that procedure or the presence on the premises where that procedure is being performed by a health care professional or other person authorized to perform that procedure of a person under 18 years of age who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. This Section does not prohibit ear piercing. This Section does not apply to a minor emancipated under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 or the Emancipation of Minors Act or by marriage. This Section does not apply to a person under 18 years of age who pierces the body or oral cavity of another person under 18 years of age away from the premises of any business at which body piercing or oral cavity piercing is performed. (Source: P.A. 93-449, eff. 1-1-04; 94-684, eff. 1-1-06.)

Sec. 12-10.2. Tongue splitting.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-10.2)

(a) In this Section, "tongue splitting" means the cutting of a human tongue into 2 or more parts.

(b) A person may not perform tongue splitting on another person unless the person performing the tongue splitting is licensed to practice medicine in all its branches under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 or licensed under the Illinois Dental Practice Act.

(c) Sentence. Tongue splitting performed in violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense. (Source: P.A. 93-449, eff. 1-1-04.)

Sec. 12-32. Ritual Mutilation.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-32)

(a) A person commits the offense of ritual mutilation, when he or she mutilates, dismembers or tortures another person as part of a ceremony, rite, initiation, observance, performance or practice, and the victim did not consent or under such circumstances that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was unable to render effective consent.

(b) Sentence. Ritual mutilation is a Class 2 felony.

(c) The offense ritual mutilation does not include the practice of male circumcision or a ceremony, rite, initiation, observance, or performance related thereto. (Source: P.A. 90-88, eff. 1-1-98.)

Sec. 12-33. Ritualized abuse of a child.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-33)

(a) A person is guilty of ritualized abuse of a child when he or she commits any of the following acts with, upon, or in the presence of a child as part of a ceremony, rite or any similar observance:

(1) actually or in simulation, tortures, mutilates, or sacrifices any warm-blooded animal or human being;

(2) forces ingestion, injection or other application of any narcotic, drug, hallucinogen or anaesthetic for the purpose of dulling sensitivity, cognition, recollection of, or resistance to any criminal activity;

(3) forces ingestion, or external application, of human or animal urine, feces, flesh, blood, bones, body secretions, nonprescribed drugs or chemical compounds;

(4) involves the child in a mock, unauthorized or unlawful marriage ceremony with another person or representation of any force or deity, followed by sexual contact with the child;

(5) places a living child into a coffin or open grave containing a human corpse or remains;

(6) threatens death or serious harm to a child, his or her parents, family, pets, or friends that instills a well-founded fear in the child that the threat will be carried out; or

(7) unlawfully dissects, mutilates, or incinerates a human corpse.

(b) The provisions of this Section shall not be construed to apply to:

(1) lawful agricultural, animal husbandry, food preparation, or wild game hunting and fishing practices and specifically the branding or identification of livestock;

(2) the lawful medical practice of male circumcision or any ceremony related to male circumcision;

(3) any state or federally approved, licensed, or funded research project; or

(4) the ingestion of animal flesh or blood in the performance of a religious service or ceremony.

(c) Ritualized abuse of a child is a Class 1 felony for a first offense. A second or subsequent conviction for ritualized abuse of a child is a Class X felony for which the offender may be sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment.

(d) For the purposes of this Section, "child" means any person under 18 years of age. (Source: P.A. 90-88, eff. 1-1-98.)

Sec. 12-34. Female genital mutilation.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-34)

(a) Except as otherwise permitted in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates, in whole or in part, the labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris of another commits the offense of female genital mutilation. Consent to the procedure by a minor on whom it is performed or by the minor's parent or guardian is not a defense to a violation of this Section.

(b) A surgical procedure is not a violation of subsection (a) if the procedure:

(1) is necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed and is performed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches; or

(2) is performed on a person who is in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches.

(c) Sentence. Female genital mutilation is a Class X felony. (Source: P.A. 90-88, eff. 1-1-98.)

   Return to Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 Table of Contents

DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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