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Barry Boches & Associates

How Are Assault And Battery Charges Defined In Illinois?


People always throw those two together. It’s assault and battery, it’s not like salt and pepper. Those are two very distinct things. An assault means you put someone in a reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Assault also takes on aggravated assault if you have a weapon or something else that you’re using. But a regular assault is you do some sort of act to put someone in a reasonable apprehension of perceiving a battery. So let’s say your client out of nowhere is taking a big swing at someone with a fist and they just miss them. That could be an attempted battery but it’s definitely an assault where you’re putting somebody in a reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.

It should be noted that usually words are not enough to justify an assault conviction. So if you’re telling somebody, “I am going to shoot your ass, I am going to kick your ass, I am going to beat you into a bloody pulp”, those are words. Words alone are not enough but you take those words and combine them with some action and you say I am going to kick your ass and you are running at the person like you’re about to attack them, yes, that person I’d say is in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Those are the things that trigger someone’s defense. There would be a justifiable use of force. So I’ve got a case going right now where two people were drunk, one was much more drunk than the other, and the guys started squaring up with them and said let’s go.

My guy was saying, “Knock it off, I don’t want to be part of this”, and the first guy who’s drunk takes a swing at him. As he’s taking the swing at him, he’s in a reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. So that guy that’s throwing the punch has committed an assault and my person retaliated because you have an absolute right for a justifiable use of force, you can use the same amount of force against someone that they’re trying to inflict on you. Someone’s throwing a punch at you, you can throw a punch at them. Now, you got to keep in mind just because one person throws one punch at you and misses, that doesn’t mean that you can take them and put them on the ground and hit them 40 times. So there is a point where you no longer have a justifiable use of force.

Along the same lines, if someone is coming at you and committing an aggravated assault or let’s say they’re committing an assault and saying, “I am going to kick your ass”, and they start moving towards you that doesn’t justify you pulling out a gun and shooting the person in a self-defense. If that person has put you in a reasonable apprehension of receiving great bodily harm or death, like let’s say a person’s coming at you with an axe and he’s taking the steps towards you and he’s got it raised over his head and he’s coming at you, you don’t have to wait for that axe to cleave your brain in two before you have a justifiable use of force. At that point, you can use the same amount of force, you can use deadly force. So someone’s coming at you with an axe and they’re about to hit you, you have every right in the world to pull out your gun and blast them.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

Again, does that give you the right to shoot them 50 times? No, but does it give you the right to shoot them? Yes, it does. Now, that’s always going to be a factual question to be determined by the judge or the jury but justifiable use of force comes up quite a bit. So that covers what assault is. Also keep in mind, it gets a little trickier because battery is a separate offense and a battery consists of two separate things. It can be the typical battery most people are aware of which is when you cause bodily harm to someone, whether you slap them, you punch them, you kick them, you caused bodily harm to someone. You don’t have to cause bruising but it has to be something that the person says they were in pain from some sort or another. That’s your typical battery.

The other part that most people are not aware of is that battery can be any contact of an insulting or a provoking nature. For instance, one of the classic one is spitting on someone. Spitting on someone certainly doesn’t cause any bodily harm but it’s an insulting contact and that absolutely is the same definition for battery, it’s just a different subsection, it’s the same criminal penalties in Illinois, up to a year in jail. Taking a step further, you spit on a police officer, that’s an aggravated battery. Now, you’re looking at 2 to 5 years in prison for spitting on a police officer. Those cases get upheld all the time. You’re like, “Wait a minute, that’s nonsense”. That’s just what the law is, you got to be aware of it.

Much more important to many people are domestic batteries because domestic battery, you’re adding the element that there’s a domestic relationship, whether they’re dating or they’re family or whatever living together. Most people are like, and this is why one of the reasons you never want to talk to the police or make a statement, and you want to defer to your attorney let him say it because if you say, “Look, I didn’t hit her, I just pushed her”, well now you’ve just admitted to a domestic battery which has all kinds of ramifications. You’ll lose your gun privileges for life, it’s a horrible thing. There are many times it’s a domestic call and they say, “He pushed me onto the bed”, or, “He pushed me to the floor”.

Another type of insulting nature contact can be if you grab a girl by the chest or behind, if you pull a Donald Trump and you’re trying to six-pack her, those are all insulting nature contacts and they all hold up as far as the battery statute goes. Again, you say, “I just pushed my girlfriend down onto the bed”, you’ve admitted to a domestic battery, you now have a nightmare, you’re going to lose a right to have a firearm’s identification card in Illinois forever, it’s very severe. It all ties into what you never want to talk to the police. If you tell me, “Look, I just pushed her”, and I told the policemen and you haven’t talked to the policemen, I said, “Look, he just pushed her”, so he can complete his investigation to see if he thinks charges are warranted. That can’t be used against them.

The cop can’t go into court and say, “The attorney said he pushed her”. Coming from my lips, it means nothing. Coming from the defendant, it’s a statement against his interest, it’s a statement by the defendant, it will come in as an out of court statement against them. You can guarantee that’s going to be used against them. So you have to be careful not to make any statement to the police. You always want to say, “I am just going on the advice of my attorney, I really don’t want to say anything at this time without my attorney present”, and you be quiet. It’s a hard thing to do because it might be very emotionally charged situation and you really want to tell your side of the story and someone has said something that’s a lie.

Let’s say the girlfriend says, “He pushed me down and he kicked me and he pulled me by the hair”, and you’re saying “None of that happened”, but you don’t even want to start saying, “I just pushed her”, because you might think well, I am taking the wind out of the her sails, now he’s not going to think there is a battery. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve just admitted to the battery. So as hard as it is, you have to keep your mouth shut and let your attorney tell your side of the story.

For more information on Assault & Battery Charges In Illinois, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

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