A domestic violence conviction can have a big impact on your life in every way. Fortunately, you have rights – including the right to mount a strong defense.
As with other types of charges, the prosecution must prove every element of a domestic battery charge beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest legal burden of proof.
What kinds of defenses and legal challenges might be available? Here are some possibilities.
Illinois law allows people to use reasonable force to defend themselves or others from imminent harm. The level of force must be appropriate to the level of the threat.
If you can show that the alleged victim was attacking you, or about to do so, you may have strong grounds for proving self-defense. It’s important to note that the burden is on you to prove that your actions met the definition of self-defense under Illinois law.
Domestic battery charges often hinge on the testimony of the alleged victim and any witnesses. What if those people are exaggerating or lying? What if they have hidden agendas? These can all be powerful angles for a defense, especially in the absence of physical evidence such as bruises or wounds.
As mentioned above, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that you committed domestic battery within the meaning of Illinois law. Pointing out gaps in their evidence, or contradicting evidence, is often an effective strategy for challenging the charges.
Violations of your rights
If your constitutional rights were violated – for example, if the police obtained critical evidence by conducting a search or seizure that violated your Fourth Amendment rights – that may be grounds for excluding the evidence. Without key evidence, the prosecution will have a greater burden in proving their case against you. They may even dismiss the charges.
A defense tailored to your situation
This is by no means an exhaustive list of possible defenses and legal challenges to domestic battery charges. Nor will every possible defense be applicable in your case. It’s critical to work with an experienced attorney to pinpoint the strongest defenses and challenges.