What Are The Potential Penalties For A Domestic Battery Conviction?
First time offense on a domestic battery, it is a Class A misdemeanor. You can get up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. In addition, you get public service; counseling and you can get all kinds of nasty things. Normally, in Illinois on a regular battery case, you would be eligible to receive what is called court supervision, which means you are under supervision of the court. You might have to pay penalties or fines. They do not give you jail, but they give you fines, public service, counseling, that type of thing. The counseling is always a part of any domestic battery case. They are always going to make you do domestic violence counseling, which is a giant pain in the ass. It is usually sixteen weeks. It is horrific for some people.
You do not need domestic violence counseling, but they insist upon it in our state. Again, everybody is politically covering their bum. With the supervision on regular battery at the end of the year, you have no conviction. So that is great. It does not affect your gun rights; it does not affect anything, because there is no conviction. On a domestic battery by statute you cannot receive court supervision. So, if you get a domestic battery that sticks, it is going to be a conviction. It is going to be a conviction on your record for the rest of your life. It is going to stop you if you ever happen to go to the Department of Corrections for something else down the line; you will not receive the six-month good time credits you would normally receive, because you have this domestic battery on your record.
It can affect you in a lot of different ways. Now that is just for a regular domestic battery. If you have a second domestic battery, then it becomes a felony. It would start off as a class four felony which is up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine, along with other things, like six months in the county. Eighteen months ordered release. There are all kinds of nasty things you can get just for a second domestic. You have to be very careful on those things.
Can Prosecution Use The Defendant’s Past As Evidence?
Yes and no. No, they cannot bring that in front of a jury just to try and influence them in saying where there is smoke there is fire. If you were found not guilty, that should not be brought up. However, if there is a distinct pattern to your type of acts that you have displayed before and it has to be so distinct that it is like your own personal fingerprints on the assault. Every time you commit a domestic battery on a woman you bite their left breast and put your nipples on it. That is your (MO), your modus operandi. It is very unique to you.
If you have done that a couple of times in the past whether you are convicted or not, that is a similar bad act that could be brought in as evidence to show that you are following a pattern here. It cannot just be that you are a bad person. It cannot just be you punched somebody. It has to be very specific and unique and that would be subject to a motion in front of the judge, whether he allows that or not. Because obviously, it is very prejudicial. On the defense side I would argue hell no, that should not be introduced, he was found not guilty of that. I do not care what he did, that is not guilty. There is a lot of allegations that can come forward. That does not mean you have done them.
That is why you are presumed innocent and there should be something where if you are found not guilty, it should not be used against you in a later court of law. But on specific instances, it can.
Do You Recommend Counseling For Your Domestic Battery Clients?
It depends if it is a misdemeanor or a felony. It looks like it is a dead bang, lose your case and you are going to go to prison if you do not do something. Sometimes you need to take a little preemptive action. As for your normal every day domestic battery no, I would absolutely say do not do the counseling. One, it is very expensive. Two, it is a very long. Three, it is kind of like a red flag that you are an offender and you are reaching out for help, but you have got an issue. You may very well get the charges dropped. Then if you have signed up for this program and you have already done all this, you have now just wasted your time and money and god forbid if you get arrested again they are going to see, you already had the program and it did you no good? Now you already have two strikes against you.
If there was any counseling, it might be inpatient, it might be much more lengthy and expensive. So you never want to get counseling ahead of time. Unless, if you really feel you need the help, by God you should get help whatever help you need. But you do not want to depth charge your criminal case at the same point because you think you are doing the right thing and you are screwing yourself.
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