When you are facing an imminent threat, you may make a decision that will change your life. Many experience the “fight or flight” response, and if there is nowhere to flee, your body may be ready to fight. However, if you are subsequently charged with battery despite justifiable actions, you may not know what to do. Luckily, with the help of a Peoria violent crime lawyer, you may be able to prove that you were acting in self-defense. Keep reading to learn what you must know about these charges and how you can help prove that your actions were justified.
In Illinois, battery and assault charges, though incorrectly used interchangeably, are very different. Assault occurs when someone threatens or attempts to commit harm, whereas battery happens when physical contact is made.
Battery is often charged as a Class A misdemeanor and warrants up to one year behind bars and a $2,500 fine. However, if substantial bodily harm is inflicted or a weapon is used, this can increase the charges to aggravated battery. This is a Class 3 felony charge, incurring one to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
When you commit an act of violence in order to protect yourself from danger, this is often referred to as self-defense. In Illinois, this is justified when someone uses force to the extent they believe necessary to protect themselves from another person’s threat of harm. Additionally, if using force that could cause death or bodily harm is necessary, it must be because they believe that is the only thing that will nullify the threat.
Proving self-defense can be challenging, as it can often be a “he said, she said” situation. As such, having evidence to back up your claim is critical to proving that you were a victim doing what was necessary to protect yourself.
One of the primary things that can help your case is documenting your injuries after the altercation. In many instances, specific injuries are consistent with self-defense, helping to prove that you were not the aggressor. Additionally, if video captured or witnesses saw the incident, this can be used to help prove your innocence.
Additionally, victims of domestic violence may be able to prove they did what was necessary to escape. For example, hospital records showing repeated injuries, text messages between the abuser and their victim, and police records showing a number of responses to the home for calls regarding domestic violence can all be used to show the defendant acted in self-defense.
If you acted in self-defense, it’s essential to connect with the legal team at Giraudo Law. Unfortunately, you may find that trying to navigate the legal system on your own, especially as a criminal defendant charged with a violent crime, can be incredibly difficult. As such, our team is committed to doing everything possible to help you in these challenging times. Contact us today to learn how we can represent you.