Even a misdemeanor DOMESTIC BATTERY charge is an extremely serious offense. Under Illinois law, your misdemeanor domestic battery charge is defined as both a “violent crime” (See, 725 ILCS 120/3(c)) and a “crime” of violence” (See, 740 ILCS 45/2(c)). If you are convicted of even the misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, you will have a conviction for a “violent crime” entered on your record.
Your misdemeanor domestic battery case is serious for other reasons. A disposition of court supervision is not allowed in domestic battery cases. Court supervision itself is a “deferred judgment” of conviction and does not lead to a conviction for the offense, as long as you successfully complete the term of supervision. Since court supervision is not allowed in domestic battery cases, if you are found guilty of the offense, it will be mandatory that a conviction for the charge of domestic battery occur against you.
Also, if you are convicted of domestic battery, that conviction itself will become a permanent part of your record. In some Illinois misdemeanor criminal cases, you can apply to seal your criminal conviction from public view. In a domestic battery case, you are not allowed to apply for sealing or expungement of the record of a domestic battery conviction. (See, 20 ILCS 2630/5.2). This means that a domestic battery conviction generally will stay with you the rest of your life.
The Problems with Domestic Battery Charges
The HoffmanLaw Office has many years of experience with Lake County domestic battery cases. Even though your domestic battery charge carries significant possible penalties, it is important to remember that you are presumed innocent of the offense. In a domestic battery trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The prosecution is required to prove the elements of the offense of domestic battery beyond a reasonable doubt.
In order to attempt to meet its burden of proof, the prosecution is required to present witnesses and evidence against you. Any witness who testifies against you at trial is subject to cross-examination by the defense. The HoffmanLaw Office has a strong record of conducting powerful cross-examinations of prosecution witnesses. We are prepared to cross-examine each and every witness the prosecution calls against you at trial.
Although the defense has no burden of proof in a criminal case, sometimes the defendant will testify in his or her own defense at trial. Many domestic battery cases turn out to be a battle of competing statements, one statement being that of the alleged victim and the other being that of the accused. If the alleged victim’s statement can be questioned and discredited strongly enough, the judge or the jury hearing your case simply may conclude the prosecution’s case is not credible and will acquit you of the charge. An acquittal also can occur if the trier of fact finds your version of the events to be more credible than the alleged victim’s. In every domestic battery case we defend, the HoffmanLaw Office takes a very close look at witness statements against you and analyzes them for the existence of reasonable doubt. If your case goes to trial, we employ tough, well-prepared cross-examinations of prosecution witnesses in order to weaken the prosecution’s claims.
Your misdemeanor domestic battery case will allege that you knowingly and without legal justification caused bodily harm to or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member. Your domestic battery proceeding can allege you performed both of these acts. In other words, your domestic battery case may allege your conduct was both insulting or provoking and caused bodily harm. (See, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2). The term “family or household member” is defined elsewhere in Illinois law. A “family or household member” can be a spouse, former spouse, child, even a person with whom you formerly had a dating relationship. A misdemeanor charge of domestic battery is punishable by up to a $2500 fine and by up to 364 days in jail.
The domestic battery statute does not define "bodily harm." The Illinois Supreme Court has stated, regarding the proof necessary for bodily harm in a battery case, that “although it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what constitutes bodily harm for the purposes of the [battery] statute, some sort of physical pain or damage to the body, like lacerations, bruises or abrasions, whether temporary or permanent, is required.” See, People vs. Mays, 91 Ill.2d 251, 437 N.E.2d (1982). Just as the prosecution’s evidence may be rigorously questioned in a case based on physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature, so, too, it can be questioned in a case alleging bodily harm. If the prosecution fails to prove you caused bodily harm then you should be acquitted of that charge.
The HoffmanLaw Office’s defense of your domestic battery case is built on a defense against all elements of the offenses charged. Because so much is on the line for you in this type of case, we take your defense very seriously. We will work hard to find problems with the prosecutions’ evidence against you and will work hard to protect you from the possible highly negative outcomes of a domestic battery case. Our work ethic applies whether you already have a lengthy criminal background or whether you never have been charged with a crime in your life. We fight for our clients. We will fight for the defense version of justice in your case.