When you are facing domestic violence accusations of any kind, the potential consequences are grave, especially if you lack the proper knowledge and legal representation necessary to defend your case. Whether you are indeed guilty of committing a domestic violence crime or you feel you are being unjustly accused, the moment you are at risk for being charged, your behavior from that moment on has the power to influence your case.
Domestic Battery Defined
According to Illinois law, you have committed domestic battery if you have knowingly, without legal justification, caused bodily harm or made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature against a family or household member. The state considers domestic battery a Class A misdemeanor, but if you have prior convictions on your record and are arrested, you may face an upgraded Class 4 felony charge. In short, if you have interfered with someone’s freedom in any way by threatening, harassing, or physically hitting them, you have broken the law.
Actions That Can Make Matters Worse
Once you have been detained or arrested on allegations of domestic violence, any move you make can be used against you later in court. Although you may be tempted to make decisions out of anger, confusion, or hurt, any irrational behavior on your part can negatively impact your case. Here are three things to avoid when facing domestic battery charges:
1. Disregarding an order of protection
You may find that a court order has been filed against you that prevents you from contacting the person you are accused of abusing. This means you may be barred from your shared residence and from visiting them at work or school. You may also be required to attend counseling. Additionally, you may be required to appear in court and may be prohibited from taking your child (if applicable) out of town or out of state. In general, an order of protection places certain restrictions on you and keeps you from contacting the claimant. Violating this order is a Class A misdemeanor and can put you at risk for up to a year in jail plus expensive fines. Disregard the order twice, and you are looking at a felony charge.
2. Refusing to cooperate
If you are charged with a domestic battery offense, you will likely be prohibited from contacting the claimant and from entering or remaining at their residence for a minimum of 72 hours. If you attempt to contact them, whether on the phone or in person, you run the risk of being charged with additional offenses. Should you be arrested for violating an order of protection and contacting the claimant, it is critical that you cooperate with law enforcement to ensure you do not aggravate the situation. Do not resist your arresting officer, exert an argumentative tone, or go against the claimant’s wishes. A little cooperation can go a long way when it comes time to go to court.
3. Neglecting to consult with an attorney
A number of factors can keep you from consulting with an attorney when you’ve been accused of a domestic violence crime, such as financial worries, pride, and fear. Speaking with an attorney, however, is one of the very best things you can do to protect your rights.
Call for a Free Consultation
If you have been charged with domestic battery or any other type of domestic violence, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.