Battery. You’ve heard the term before, but what does it really mean? It doesn’t help that people often use assault and battery as interchangeable terms (they’re not). As a Chicago assault and battery lawyer, many people ask me where the state of Illinois draws the line between the two.

What’s the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

First, let’s clear up the difference between assault and battery. Illinois law defines assault as when one person “places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” You can be charged with assault even if you never caused anyone harm – but battery is another story.

You can be charged and convicted of battery when you harm someone or when you cause someone harm without physically touching them.

See? It’s a little confusing. So what counts as battery?

Battery: What Can Get You Charged and Convicted

If you cause bodily harm to another person, you can be charged with battery. However, you don’t even need to harm them to be charged with battery.

It’s not unusual for people to be charged with battery for things like:

  • Punching, slapping or hitting
  • Spitting on another person
  • Choking
  • Kicking
  • Pushing
  • Touching another person in an unwelcome manner

Possible Battery Defenses

There are several ways to show the courts that you’re not guilty of battery. While every case is different, your assault and battery attorney will be able to evaluate your case and see what applies to you. Your lawyer might feel that you can claim:

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of another person
  • Defense of property
  • The victim’s consent

Even if these things don’t apply in your case, there may be a perfectly good reason for what happened. Your lawyer, once he knows the whole story, will be able to begin to build your defense.

The Consequences of a Battery Conviction in Chicago

There are two distinct types of battery in Illinois: simple battery, which is a misdemeanor, and aggravated battery, which is a felony.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor battery, you could spend up to a year in jail and be required to pay a fine of $2,500. People who are convicted of aggravated battery can end up serving time in prison. It’s always best to consult with a Chicago assault and battery lawyer who can thoroughly evaluate your case and get to the truth of the matter.

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