Have you been arrested for or charged with domestic battery in McHenry County? If so, you will need the services of a criminal defense lawyer who has specialized experience in domestic battery cases. Attorney Steven R. Hunter has been in the practice for 30 years and has gotten domestic battery charges dismissed or won acquittal many times over the years. To schedule a legal consultation with a McHenry County domestic violence attorney today, call (312) 466-9466.
Attorneys for domestic battery cases in McHenry County are not all created equal. The top domestic battery attorneys have a track record they can speak to in which they get positive outcomes for their clients. To get charges dismissed, you need the best defense lawyer for your case, and you need to fully understand what you've been charged with and how it will be prosecuted.
Domestic battery is the most common crime under the umbrella of domestic violence crimes in Illinois, and this is also the case for McHenry County.
It is defined as "intentionally or knowingly, without legal justification, by any means causing bodily harm, or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature."
To unpack that legal language, domestic battery simply requires that one person intentionally caused another person bodily harm. Physical contact between the two people isn't necessary -- for example, one person could throw a plate at another person, and that could be considered battery by the courts if it was done in an "insulting or provoking nature."
For a battery to be classified as domestic, the victim must have been a family member, household member, or someone related by blood or marriage. This includes boyfriend or girlfriends.
A domestic battery charge usually arises when the victim calls the police. From that point on, the case is in the State's hands. If the victim later alters their story, or if they decide not to press charges, that doesn't mean the State will drop the case. It is up to the State's Attorney to decide whether criminal charges should be pressed against the alleged perpetrator. However, if the victim does change their original story, this can be used in court to damage their credibility and increase the chance of dismissal or acquittal.
In 2015, Illinois recorded over 100,000 instances of domestic offense, 60% of which were Domestic Battery.
In McHenry County specifically, Illinois State Police reported 1,165 domestic offenses. This statistic was not delineated by criminal charge, but given the overall numbers in the state, it follows that at least half of these cases were domestic battery.
Because domestic battery is the most common domestic violence charge, the State's Attorneys are accustomed to aggressive prosecuting this type of case. For this reason, it is important to find an equally aggressive criminal defense attorney who can match the level of experience of the State arguing this type of case.
Sentences depends on whether the charge is a first defense domestic battery, a second battery charge, or even a third-time battery charge.
While a first offense is classified as a misdemeanor, a second or third charge can be escalated to Aggravated Domestic Battery, which is a felony.
The difference between a misdemeanor and felony lies in the classification of sentence for each charge. Usually, a misdemeanor cannot result in jail time of more than 364 days, while for felonies, defendants can be sentenced to a year or multiple years of imprisonment.
A first offense domestic battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which can warrant fines, a sentence of up to 364 days in jail, and mandatory domestic violence education, if the situation warrants it. Supervision is not an option at sentencing for a domestic battery conviction. This detail is important, because only convictions that resulted in supervision can be expunged from a criminal record. In other words, if you are convicted of domestic battery, it will be permanent on your criminal record.
It is possible to be charged with aggravated domestic battery if you are a first-time offender, though this is not common. If the incident caused great bodily harm, was inflicted on a child, or involved a violent weapon, the State could escalate the charge. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the State's Attorney to decide how a criminal charge is classified. However, they must be able to prove their case in court if the defendant disputes the allegations and takes it to trial.
No matter whether you are a first, second, or third-time domestic battery offender, the State will almost always revoke your Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) or any conceal carry permits. In addition, the case will result in a "no contact" provision or Order of Protection that forbids the alleged abuser from contacting the victim or visiting their residence or workplace.
If you have been falsely accused of Domestic Battery, you will have the chance in court to prove your case. At our firm, we harness several tried-and-true legal defense strategies for defendants battling charges of Domestic Battery.
The two most common strategies to win a domestic battery case are self-defense and that the complaining witness made up the story.
Arguing self-defense may be effective for you if the complaining witness incited the situation or struck first. In some cases, someone may hit, kick, or slap their spouse or significant other, who in turn pushes them away, but then claims he or she is the victim. In this case, the defense will seek out witness testimony or physical evidence that corroborates that fact that the defendant acted in self-defense.
If the accusations were completely made up, the defense can demonstrate that the defendant was somewhere else at the time of the alleged incident, which is called an alibi defense. These types of cases are easiest to demonstrate fabrication.
But if the accused was indeed at the scene, other evidence can be used to prove his or her innocence. These types of cases are more difficult to defend, but not impossible. For example, a criminal defense attorney can establish that the alleged victim had no visible injuries and didn't seek out medical treatment, which implies that the injury never occurred. In other situations, it can be shown that a significant amount of time passed before the person made a battery complaint, which damages their credibility. In still other cases, there are eyewitnesses who can testify that the alleged battery never occurred and that the accuser fabricated the story.
Defense strategies are not "one size fits all." To decide which defense is right for you, call the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter today for an office consultation.
Don't let a domestic battery charge become a permanent stain on your criminal record. Convictions have serious consequences and can affect your employment or housing opportunities for years to come. If you have been charged with Domestic Battery in McHenry County, it doesn't mean you'll be convicted as long as you proceed wisely and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate on your behalf. To discuss your case with a McHenry County Domestic Battery attorney, call our office at (312) 466-9466.