If you have been charged with Assault in Illinois, you should hire the best criminal defense attorney for your case. Even a simple assault can lead to a permanent mark on your record and prevent you from obtaining employment or obtaining a certain housing.
There are certain ways to defend against an assault charge and you want to make sure that your Chicago assault lawyer can help you defend your case.
What is the Difference Between Assault Vs Battery?
If you have watched any crime show ever, you will often hear the phrase “He assaulted me!” or “he Battered me” These two terms are often used interchangeably all the time.
Often misused, most people do not know what the differences are between assault and battery in Illinois. There are several differences between assault and battery including the way that it is charged and the types of punishments you face.
A battery is when one person causes harm to another person without legal justification. A good example of a battery would be if someone punched you, then they committed a battery against you.
Assault is when you threaten someone that you will harm them. A good example of an assault would be if somebody threatened to punch you. With an assault, there is no actual physical contact.
What is Legally Considered Assault?
In Illinois, a person commits assault when a person engages in conduct that places another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. To put it simply, assault is the threat of a battery (720 ILCS 5/12-1).
A typical situation when someone is charged with assault is when one person threatens another to do some kind of physical harm. If that person actually commits the physical harm then they would be charged with battery.
What is the Punishment for Assault?
If you have been charged with assault, then you will be facing a class C misdemeanor. What is the jail time for simple assault? This offense can lead up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of up to $1,500. If you have been charged with assault you should contact a criminal lawyer to help you defend that case.
How Do You Get An Assault Case Dismissed?
Can you fight an assault charge? Some of the common defenses for an assault charge are:
1. Self Defense – A common defense that your lawyer may be able to use to help you beat your case is self-defense. Remember that with self-defense, you are admitting that you did commit an assault but that you are justified in doing so.
2. Defense of others – Defense of others is the exact same legal theory as self- defense, except that instead of defending yourself, you are defending another person against an attack.
3. The victim was no in fear of receiving a battery – Remember that for an assault to occur, the victim needs to be in fear that you were actually going to commit a battery. Therefore, if you were joking or if there was no reasonable belief that a battery was about to be committed, then you can beat the charge.
4. The threat was conditional – Under Illinois law, your Chicago attorney should know that if your threat to the other person was conditional, that the case should be thrown out.
The best example is if your threat to the other person is something like, “ if you come near me, I will punch you in the face” In that example, there is a condition that the victim needs to approach the defendant in order for the fear of the battery to occur. Therefore, it is not an immediate threat.
5. The victim doesn’t show to court – Oftentimes, it is worth it for your criminal defense lawyer to set the case for trial and see if the victim even shows to court. If the victim doesn’t show to court and your attorney answers ready for trial, the case SHOULD (not always) get thrown out.
Types of Assault Charges
There are several different ways that you can be charged with the offense of assault. There are two general categories for assault charges and those categories break down into three subcategories.
If you are charged with assault then you will be facing a class C misdemeanor offense. The second category is aggravated assault and you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the specific category of aggravated assault that you are charged with.
Is Assault a Felony?
In Illinois, assault can be both a misdemeanor or a felony offense. If you are charged with a misdemeanor assault then you will be facing either a class C misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor. The highest punishment that you can face is 364 days in the county jail and a maximum fine of up to $2,500. A felony assault is considered an aggravated assault and is broken up into three types of categories.
If you are charged with a felony assault it will be based upon one of the three following categories.
Felony assault based upon the location of the assault
You can be charged with a felony assault if you commit the assault on a public way, public property, a public place of accommodation, a sports venue, a church, or any place used for public worship. If you are charged with an aggravated assault based upon a public way you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
Felony assault based upon the status of the victim
You can be charged with felony assault if you commit the assault against someone and they are in a special protected category under the law. The following is a list of protected persons against assault.
- A person with a physical disability
- A person over the age of 60
- A teacher or school employee on school grounds
- A Police officer
- A community policing volunteer, private security officer, or utility worker
- A correctional institution worker
- An employee of the state of Illinois
- A coach or referee participating in a sporting event.
- A transit employee
- A process server
If the victim fits into any one of the above categories then you can either be charged with a class A misdemeanor assault case or a class 4 felony assault case. Most of the categories will be a class A misdemeanor except if you committed the assault against a police officer while on duty or if you committed the assault against a state employee.
If you fall into those two categories then you will be charged with the class 4 felony assault with a punishment of 1-3 years in prison.
Felony Assault based upon the use of a firearm, device, or motor vehicle
A person can be charged with a felony assault if that person had a weapon or used a motor vehicle during the time of the assault. The class of felony you can be charged with will depend on the type of weapon and how the weapon was used during the offense. Below are the various ways you can be charged with aggravated assault based upon the use of a weapon
- Use of a deadly weapon and not discharging the weapon
- Discharges a firearm
- Discharges a firearm from a vehicle
- Wears a hood, robe, or mask to conceal his identity
- Uses a laser scope attached to a firearm
- Uses a firearm against a police officer
- Uses a motor vehicle
If you have been charged with aggravated assault while using a weapon then you will be charged with either a class 4 felony or a class 3 felony offense. A class 4 felony offense is punishable by 1-3 years in jail and a class 3 felony is punishable by 2-5 years in jail.
Hire a Top Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you find yourself facing an assault charge, you will be looking at some serious consequences depending on the way you are charged. The consequences of a conviction for an assault charge can lead to a permanent criminal record and some hefty fines.
You want to make sure that your criminal defense attorney is familiar with the laws and the common defenses for assault. Alexander Ktenas is a criminal defense attorney that has handled many assault cases both as a prosecutor and as a defense lawyer. If you would like to talk about your assault case and get a free consultation, feel free to call or text today! (312) 756 8600