People who live in the communities of Kendall County or DeKalb County may not realize how easy it is to get charged with a crime related to domestic violence.
In Illinois, the definition of a domestic battery is broad. Depending on the circumstances, it can include just about any physical contact with a current or former romantic partner, a close relative or a member of one’s home.
Police and prosecutors can use pushes and grabs to justify a domestic battery charge even if the person touched was not physically hurt.
Whether authorities should make an arrest and charge can sometimes seem like a matter of opinion based on their interpretation of what happened. The reality is that anyone, even an otherwise good citizen, can face a domestic battery charge in an Illinois state court.
For first-time offenders, a domestic battery will usually be a misdemeanor. Jail and significant fines are a possibility, but someone with no history may get the benefit of a deal that does not involve jail or more serious criminal penalties.
Still, people should think twice about taking even what seems like a very generous offer.
A domestic battery conviction can have long-term consequences
The reason is a domestic battery conviction can have serious consequences above and beyond what happens in court. For example, even after a misdemeanor conviction, federal law might prohibit the person accused from owning or having a firearm.
A domestic battery conviction could also affect a person’s ability to make decisions about or even see their children regularly. For those who are not citizens of the United States, even a single domestic battery conviction is grounds for deportation.
There are other serious professional and social consequences for domestic battery, even if the accused person has no prior criminal history and admitted their mistake.
Before pleading guilty to a crime related to domestic violence, a person should consider whether they have any legal defenses to these charges available to them.