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What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Illinois?

Illinois, like most states, takes accusations of domestic violence very seriously. While this is great for victims of abuse, it can be trouble for those who are falsely accused of this heinous crime. If you’ve been wrongly accused of domestic violence, you may feel overwhelming emotions like anger, anxiety, and confusion. As such, it’s important to remain level-headed to fully understand the penalties you can face for this offense. The following blog explores what you must know about this offense and how a Peoria domestic violence lawyer can help fight the charges against you.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence involves a physical act with a household or family member. Though this may seem vague, a household or family member can include any of the following:

  • Someone who you are currently or were previously married to
  • Anyone who shares a child with you
  • Someone with whom you share a residence with
  • Those with disabilities and their caregivers
  • Any relative, whether by blood or marriage

Generally, the physical act in question occurs when someone causes bodily harm to a household or family member. However, domestic violence is not only limited to physical abuse. Someone may be charged with domestic battery if they neglect, verbally abuse, emotionally harass, or threaten those in the household. However, domestic violence is often synonymous with physical attacks, like punching, pushing, slapping, sexually abusing, choking, and beating a family or household member.

What Penalties Can I Face if Convicted?

Unfortunately, there are many factors that can impact what penalties you can face if convicted on a domestic violence charge.

Generally, a first-time offender will face a Class A misdemeanor for domestic battery. However, if you have a prior conviction for violating an order of protection, this may intensify the charge to a Class 4 felony. If you are convicted for a second time of domestic violence, you will also face a Class 4 felony charge.

In some instances, there may be aggravating factors that increase the severity of the charges against you. For example, causing great bodily harm, strangling, or leaving the alleged victim with a permanent disability or disfigurement is classified as aggravated domestic battery. This offense is a Class 2 felony, carrying a minimum sentence of sixty days in prison. Unlike other sentences in Illinois, if you are charged with bodily harm when sentenced, you will not be eligible for a day-for-day credit, which can reduce the amount of time you spend behind bars.

Not only can you face felony charges, but you may also find it more difficult to retain employment if convicted of domestic violence. Similarly, you will have your Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card revoked, regardless of whether or not you are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.

What Should I Do if I’m Facing Charges?

If you are facing accusations of domestic violence, the most important thing to do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As you can see, the penalties for this offense are severe, so doing everything possible to prove your innocence is vital.

Due to the nature of these crimes, judges often hand down harsher sentences to those found guilty. As such, working with an attorney can help you craft a defense to prove your innocence. Whether your accuser fabricated the story or you were defending yourself from their violence, working with a lawyer to clear your name is vital. Not only can this help you regain a clean reputation, but you may be able to recover your FOID Card with your lawyer’s assistance.

At Giraudo Law, we understand how complex these charges can be. As such, our dedicated team will explore every avenue for a potential defense to fight for you during these challenging times. Contact our firm today to learn how we can assist you.

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