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In recent years, media attention has caused prosecutors to treat domestic violence crimes with new urgency. As a result, the penalties for a domestic violence charge are more severe and have repercussions far beyond what a defendant may have imagined. For example, your criminal record for a domestic battery conviction cannot be sealed.

Domestic battery is defined as knowingly and without legal justification causing bodily harm or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a household or family member. A first offense is a Class A Misdmeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Subsequent offenses were a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years. See Illinois Domestic Battery Law.

If you are charged with domestic battery or a similar offense, I can help present your situation to the court in its most favorable light. Even if you don’t testify, your demeanor can speak volumes. An attorney can better determine how you are coming across to others. I can also hold the state to its burden of proof. How believable is the complaining witness? Did you have legal justification for your actions?

In many instances, an order of protection or “no contact” order is also issued. Generally, the order forbids even third party contact with the complaining witness. A misunderstanding about these terms can lead to a violation of the order and a separate set of criminal charges. A qualified attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls through better understanding of your order.

While press reports show that the United States has a tremendous problem with domestic violence, this is also an area prone to false allegations. Sometimes, a domestic violence charge can be used to gain an advantage in a divorce. Especially if you are falsely accused of striking a family member, call me immediately for a consultation.

See our related blogs at What Is Domestic Battery Under Illinois Law?What Does it Mean to “Share a Common Dwelling” under Illinois Domestic Battery Law?,  and What is Aggravated Domestic Battery in Illinois Law?