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Illinois Assault And Battery Laws

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
September 22, 2020

In this article, we discuss Illinois assault and battery laws and answer the following questions:

  • What is considered assault in Illinois?
  • What is considered battery in Illinois?
  • Can someone be charged with battery against an unborn child?
  • Is domestic battery treated separately from battery outside the home?
  • What are the penalties for assault in Illinois?
  • What are the penalties for battery in Illinois?

What Is Considered Assault In Illinois?

A common misconception is that the charge of assault results from someone physically harming another person. However, assault is described as any intentional act or behavior that reasonably causes the other person to fear for their safety, or believe they will be imminently harmed. Raising your hand against someone in a deliberate and menacing manner, especially if accompanied by language suggesting you intend to cause the other person harm, is considered assault. Even if you do not physically harm the other person, you may still be charged with assault. Words alone, however menacing, will not generate an assault charge. However, what the words convey, such as stating explicitly and repeatedly that you plan to hurt or kill someone will most certainly lead to trouble with the authorities.

What Is Considered Battery In Illinois?

Battery occurs when one person makes physical contact with another; intentionally harming them or an attempt to provoke them. This extends to ripping another person’s clothing and harming another person with an object.

Often, an individual who physically attacks another person will be charged with assault and battery because they are 1) intentionally acting in a way that would make the person fearful of injury, and 2) actually striking and injuring the person.

Can Someone Be Charged With Battery Against An Unborn Child?

Yes. If an individual knowingly causes harm to an unborn fetus it is still considered battery. If the individual intentionally harmed someone who was pregnant, resulting in injury or death to the fetus but did not know the person was pregnant, it may provide a defense against the charge, or result in a lesser charge. Minor harm to a fetus is considered a class A misdemeanor while serious harm to a fetus is considered aggravated battery, a class 2 felony. 

Is Domestic Battery Treated Separately From Battery Of A Non-Family Member?

The primary difference between battery and domestic battery is the relationship between the individuals involved. If someone hits another person within their household, or to whom they are closely related, but not immediately living in the same household, it will be considered domestic battery. The charges and penalties are essentially the same. Domestic batteries are also much more likely to result in a protection order.

What Are The Penalties For Assault In Illinois?

A standard charge of assault, let’s say someone strikes another person, but that person isn’t significantly injured or left with disability, is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Thirty days imprisonment
  • A fine of $1,500
  • Two years probation
  • 30 to 120 hours of community service
  • Restitution for any costs associated with the assault

If there are other factors associated with the charge, such as the use of a weapon, assault of a minor, etc, the punishment will be accordingly severe.

What Are The Penalties For Battery In Illinois?

Simple battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Up to one year imprisonment
  • A fine of $2,500
  • Probation for up to two years
  • Restitution for any costs associated with the battery

If you have a question about assault and battery laws in Illinois or representation, please give our office a call.

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