What Are Some Defense Strategies Utilized In Domestic Battery Cases?
I had a case once where the woman threw a pot of hot coffee on the guy and he reached out and hit her right as she was doing it. Like in any battery, it says without legal justification. So what that means is you have the right to defend yourself. So if your wife is coming at you with a kitchen pan, if she is swinging it and getting close, you do not have to wait for her to make contact with your face with that pan. You could put up your arm and block her. You can use the same kind of force she is using to defend yourself, but that always becomes a factual issue. It is going to be up to the judge or the jury to decide well, did this person really have legal justification. There always is self-defense.
You are always allowed to defend yourself with the same amount of force as being used against you if you reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of receiving a battery. Now, that cannot mean, I see my wife looking at me with some pretty mad eyes over there, I know she is going to shoot me, so you get out your gun and blow her head off. It has to be something concrete that a jury or judge is going to believe. So if she has got a knife out and she is screaming across the room, “I’m going to slice you to pieces” and she is three inches away from you yeah, you can do something first to stop her. If you were reasonably anticipating great bodily harm or death, you can use killing force.
But again, you better be able to prove it. Because even though the burden is on the state, the self-defense part is on you. You must be able to prove that you were in reasonable anticipation of receiving whatever amount of force that you dealt back to that person. The wife comes out of nowhere and just slaps you and accuses you of cheating on her with somebody. Well, you might get one slap back maybe, but that does not mean just because she slaps you once you can throw her on the ground and pummel her with twenty shots to the face with your fist. It has to be in kind. So, if you get punched once or pushed once, you can push back once.
Obviously the smartest thing to do is if you see something escalating, get the hell out of there. Run away. Go away. Avoid the issue until things have cooled off. You never do better by saying, it looks like she’s going to hit me, I’m going to knock her head off with one hit. I had a friend who was defending another person because these bouncers were about to beat him up and the guy started taking a swing and he took a swing from the side and connected with this bouncer before he hit his friend and he broke his eye socket. The guy went down with a lump of coal, but then my guy got charged with aggravated battery. Well, in this case his friend was so drunk he was not able to defend himself and the judge found that he absolutely had a right to defend his friend just as much as he could defend himself.
That is what the law is. You can go to the reasonable defense of another. So if you see someone who is about to be battered, you can use the same amount of force that they would have used to defend themselves. But again, you have got to be careful. You see all of these bouncers are about to hit my friend, you get out a gun and blow their head off; I do not think anybody is going to find that reasonable. You have to be very careful with how much force you are using. It is always best to avoid that situation, run, walk away or whatever. I do not care if people have a lot to say about you, avoid it, because you are not going to do better by jumping and making the scene worse.
Does Illinois Allow Sealing Or Expungement Of Domestic Battery Charges?
For most cases the rule of thumb was you could even apply for expungement, but you have to wait two years since the last date of court action. Say the person was under court supervision until July of 2017. Well then you could not come in until July of 2019 and ask for expungement. But again, I would put a caveat or star next to that one because I am not one hundred percent sure anymore what those figures are. There is at least in Illinois, the option of sealing, which is another thing you can do. So if you seal the record, for all intents purposes, it has not been expunged, but it has been sealed, so that nobody can find the domestic battery charge on you. It would have the same effect that no one is going to know it is there except the government and no one should be able to find that.
The Importance Of Retaining An Experienced Attorney To Handle Domestic Battery Charges
If it is someone’s first domestic battery and they go in and just plead guilty to it, then they are going to be faced with this for the rest of their lives. If you have a decent attorney and the case warrants it, usually you can get the state to amend it down to a regular battery and get the court supervision in Illinois so it does not give you a conviction. It will not give you a conviction on record and it is sealed and there is nothing to worry about. That is where an experienced attorney would know. This is what we are trying to do. It could have been, oh we will just give you a conviction, $100 fine, say goodbye. Well that is going to kill you later in life. You might have to pay a little more money. You will have to go to counseling with supervision, but you want to get supervision so you do not have a conviction on your record.
Additional Information Regarding Domestic Battery Charges In Illinois
It is just better not to make any statements at all. Wait until you talk to an attorney. Do not talk to the police, because they can twist what you say and what you say may be taken out of contact and keep in mind they are not the people you need to convince. The police are there, they have been called. Keep in mind ninety-five percent of the time they are going to arrest somebody regardless. So you are not going to talk your way out of it and you will probably stick both of your feet into a big bucket of horse poop. So I would not advise doing so.
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