Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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Assault and battery basics

If you or a loved one has recently been charged with battery, you may understandably be struggling to make heads or tails of the laws that govern this offense. Trying to understand the letter of the law can be complicated or even downright confusing. Thankfully, experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you to understand the laws affecting your case and can aid you in defending your case as successfully as possible.

When you speak to an attorney about your situation, do not hesitate to ask him or her to both explain the laws affecting you generally and to speak specifically about how your case is likely to proceed. Before you meet with your attorney, please consider the following basics so that you may have a more informed and productive discussion with him or her about how to best move forward.

Assault and Battery

It's important to note that assault and battery are separate charges. You may be charged with assault or assault and battery. For technical reasons, it is rare to be charged with battery alone.

One of the things that sets assault apart from battery is that assault doesn't need to be caused by any physical contact or physical injury to the plaintiff. When an individual is charged with battery, the prosecution will have to prove that the defendant either conducted bodily harm to the plaintiff or that they engaged in unwanted or insulting contact with the other person.

Sentencing

Should you be convicted of battery, you'll be facing some pretty serious potential repercussions. Illinois law classifies battery as a Class A misdemeanor. However, aggravated battery is considered to be a Class Three felony unless the prosecutor is able to raise the charge to a Class Two, Class One, or Class X felony.

A Class Three felony can be punished with two to five years in prison. If charged with a Class Two, Class One, or Class X felony, however, you could be looking at up to 30 years in prison. The state can also use sentence enhancement if you've been charged with the same crime before. This could bring you up to a maximum of 60 years.

Defenses

There are some defenses to this law that can ultimately lead to your case being dismissed or the consequences of your case being mitigated. As you can imagine, the right lawyer will be looking to these defenses when representing you in court. Your attorney could claim that the battery happened in self-defense or defense of another person, that it was committed in defense of certain property, that you had consent of the victim to the battery, or that you failed to comprehend that this battery was about to occur when it happened.

Just because the letter of the law can be quite confusing doesn't mean it has to be. In fact, it can be quite relatively straightforward once an experienced attorney helps you to break it down. As a result, it is important to seek this guidance if and whenever you end up needing it.

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