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Does Illinois Law Protect My Right to Shoot in Self-Defense?

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Illinois does not have a “Stand Your Ground” or “Castle Doctrine” law, nor does it have a “Duty to Retreat” law. Instead, Illinois has a “Justifiable Use of Force” law, 750 ILCS 5/7, passed in 2004. Of particular importance to Concealed Carry License (CCL) holders and other firearms owners in Illinois, this law defines when you can use “reasonable force” versus “deadly force” in a self-defense situation.

Illinois Law on Self-Defense and Defense of Other People

The Illinois Use of Force in Defense of Person statute (750 ILCS 5/7-1) provides the following guidelines:

• You can fight back with equivalent force if you reasonably believe that you or another person is about to be unlawfully attacked. For example, if an attacker comes at you with a knife, you can strike back with any heavy or sharp object available to you or wield a chair or other large object as a shield;

• You can use deadly force if you reasonably believe you or another person is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm; and

• You can use deadly force to prevent or stop the commission of a forcible felony such as rape or murder.

If, in an act of justifiable self-defense, you wound or kill the attacker, neither the attacker nor their family can sue you for personal injury or wrongful death.

Illinois Law on Defense of Your Home

The Illinois Use of Force in Defense of Dwelling statute (750 ILCS 5/7-2) provides the following guidelines:

• You can use reasonable force to stop someone who is trying to break into your home or the home of another person;

• You can use deadly force if the trespass is made in a violent manner, perhaps involving multiple trespassers, and you reasonably believe that the trespasser(s) will physically attack you or another person in the home; and

• You can use deadly force if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the home. (Notice that this does not specify a “forcible” felony.)

Definition of Deadly Force in Illinois

“Deadly force” means a level of force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm. If you fire a gun toward an attacker, even if you do not hit them, that is deadly force. If you carefully fire the gun in a manner that is very unlikely to cause harm, intending simply to frighten the attacker and make them aware that you are armed, that is not deadly force.

“Great bodily harm” is not specifically defined in Illinois law but, based on past appellate court rulings, can roughly be defined as injuries that are severe enough to significantly impair a person’s physical function and that warrant immediate treatment by a doctor.

Joliet Firearms Defense Lawyer

Even someone who has clearly acted in self-defense will be questioned and potentially detained until the incident has been fully investigated. If this happens to you, you have the right to consult with a Will County firearms defense lawyer before making any statements. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and provide an aggressive defense against any criminal charges that may be lodged against you. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation. We take calls around the clock.

What You Need to Know About Assault and Battery in Will County

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Are cases of assault and battery rising in Joliet and Will County? It is hard to say for certain because FBI crime statistics for a given year are not published until a full year later. But, a recent look at the Will County court docket suggests that there multiple victims in the county every day of crimes such as domestic battery involving bodily harm and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

Who Commits Battery and Who Are the Victims?

According to figures released by the FBI in 2018, roughly one-fourth of the victims of violent physical crimes are related to their attackers, and roughly half know their attackers but are not related to them.

What Types of Battery Crimes Happen in Will County?

Most arrests for battery in Will County involve physical contact with only minor injuries. Bodily harm appears to be more common in domestic cases than when the parties are not related or living in the same household.

What Is the Punishment for Aggravated Battery in Will County?

Under Illinois law , battery that involves physical contact with only minor injuries is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. In actuality, most misdemeanor offenders are sentenced to community service or probation rather than jail time.

Aggravated battery is a more serious crime, typically involving great bodily harm or use of a dangerous weapon. Aggravated battery is, at minimum, a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in jail or up to 2.5 years on probation.

What Are Some Possible Defenses in Battery Cases?

The most common defense is self-defense—that you only hit the other person because you were hit first or believed you were in imminent danger from the other person.

Another defense is that you did not actually make physical contact with the other person. For example, perhaps you made angry remarks to the alleged victim, moved in their direction, and even threw something in their direction, but you did not make physical contact. In their flight, the alleged victim could stumble or trip and be injured in their fall. The alleged victim might accuse you of hitting them when in fact you did not make physical contact. Unless there were credible witnesses to the events, it could come down to a matter of “he said, she said” and a battery charge might not stick.

A Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

Will County judges are more likely to sentence you to jail for a violent crime such as battery than for a crime like theft or DUI. When you need an aggressive Joliet criminal defense lawyer , contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025; we respond to calls every day around the clock.

Illinois Child Endangerment Laws and Consequences

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Almost everything that Illinois courts do with issues pertaining to children is in the child’s best interests and to protect the child’s wellbeing. Illinois courts believe that children have an inherent right to have loving, safe and caring homes, which is why any and all accusations of child abuse, neglect and endangerment are taken very seriously. Being accused of child endangerment is a serious situation. Not only will you face criminal charges and punishments, but you will also face stigma from friends, family, coworkers and other people who access your criminal record.

What is Child Endangerment?

According to Illinois law , child endangerment occurs when a person knowingly “causes or permits a child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the child’s life or health.” Though this is a rather vague statement, it is typically understood that child endangerment charges are entered when a person puts a child in immediate danger. Common examples of child endangerment include:

• Leaving a child unattended for more than 10 minutes;

• Using illegal drugs in front of a child or while the child is in your care;

• Driving with a child in the vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol;

• Failing to report child abuse or neglect; and

• Having unsecured firearms in the same vicinity as the child.

Consequences of Child Endangerment Charges

Because criminal charges involving children are taken so seriously, if you are convicted of child endangerment, expecting a judge to go easy on you would be unwise. A first offense of child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that you could face up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. A second or subsequent offense is a Class 3 felony, which carries a two to five-year jail sentence and up to $25,000 in fines. If the child died and the event that the child endangerment charges stemmed from is found to be a proximate cause of the child’s death, it is also classified as a Class 3 felony, though you will face a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Are You Facing Child Endangerment Charges? A Skilled Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Child endangerment charges are very serious and should be treated so. Defending against child endangerment charges can prove to be challenging, but it is not impossible. If you are facing child endangerment charges, you need to call a skilled Will County criminal defense attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you avoid a conviction at all costs. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation

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