Many people think that “ assault and battery ” charges are one in the same, but under Illinois law, the two are different and separate charges. Battery is when an individual causes bodily harm to another individual, knowing that the contact is offensive or harmful, and they do not have the legal right to do so. The legal definition of assault is when an individual knowingly places another individual in fear of being battered.
This means that a person can be charged with assault even if there was no physical contact between the accused and the alleged victim; only that the victim was in fear that imminent harm or threat was coming from the offender.
Understanding the Different Classifications of Charges
The most common forms of battery that individuals are charged with usually involve hitting or punching, however, battery can also be any other type of offensive physical act. For example, an individual who rips a backpack off another individual could be charged with battery.
Under certain circumstances, police can charge individuals with the more serious offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery. One criterion for aggravated charges is the location where the crime took place. Charges could be elevated if the offense occurred on public property, a place of worship, a sports venue, or an amusement or accommodation place.
Charges can also be elevated if the offender concealed their identity during the crime (i.e. wearing a mask or hood), used a firearm, motor vehicle, or other deadly weapon crime, or recorded the crime in order to disseminate the assault.
The status of the victim can also result in elevated charges if they fall into any of the following categories:
- Community policing volunteer
- Corrections officer
- Disabled person
- Elderly person
- Firefighter or other first responder
- Park district employee
- Police officer
- Private security
- Process server
- Sports coach
- State employee
- Transit employee
- Utility worker
Harsher Penalties for Aggravated Offenses
If convicted, the penalties for elevated charges are more severe. In Illinois, assault is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. This means that if a person is convicted, they face up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500.
Aggravated assault may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction means up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. In some cases, the charge is classified as a Class 4 felony, leaving the defendant facing one to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction of aggravated assault, the court can extend the prison sentence to three to six years.
Contact a Will and Grundy County Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges of assault or battery, you need a skilled Will County criminal defense lawyer advocating for you and ensuring your rights are protected. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation and find out how our firm can help.