You know it’s serious to be facing an assault charge, but you may not be sure exactly how strong the case is against you – or what you can do about it. Any criminal allegation involving violence (or the threat of violence) merits a strong defense strategy. With the right approach, you can more effectively fight the charges and protect your future. The first step, however, is understanding the nature of the charges against you.
What is battery?
Though they’re often grouped together, assault and battery are separate charges in Illinois. Battery involves physical contact that causes harm or is “insulting or provoking.” The physical contact can be indirect – for example, throwing an object or spitting at someone.
What is assault?
Many people don’t realize that assault does not require physical contact. In Illinois, assault is defined as any conduct that makes another person “reasonably apprehend” that you’re about to commit a battery against them. That might include verbal threats, threatening gestures, or taking a swing at someone (and missing).
What about intent?
Both assault and battery require “knowing” conduct. The prosecution must prove that you knew what you were doing. Accidental contact – for example, bumping into someone in a crowded nightclub – isn’t battery. The prosecution has to prove your intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dealing with assault or battery charges
Whether you’re facing an assault or battery charge, your future is at stake. It is in your interest to seek defense counsel as soon as possible after an arrest. Not only is your personal freedom at stake, but a conviction will leave a permanent mark on your criminal record. That can affect everything from educational opportunities to employment prospects to child custody disputes and more.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when facing serious charges, but you do not have to face them alone. You can work with an experienced Illinois defense attorney from the very beginning. A strong legal ally will fight for your rights, provide in-depth guidance to help you make informed decisions and level the playing field.