Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Serving Chicago's West Suburbs
Domestic violence, unfortunately, is not just something you just see on the evening news or read about in your local newspaper. It affects many of us. According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), domestic violence affects one in three women and one in seven men in American society.
Domestic violence crimes reported to Illinois police have averaged more than 100,000 cases a year for more than 15 years, and these are just the cases that get reported. Who knows the real figure? Statewide, the Domestic Violence Act of 1986 sought to give law enforcement more “teeth” in dealing with incidents of domestic violence, but that hasn’t prevented angry and abusive conditions from visiting relationships.
If you are being investigated for, or charged with, an act of domestic violence anywhere in Chicago’s West Suburbs, contact my Oswego office, Mockaitis Law Group LLC, immediately. I am a former Assistant State’s Attorney for DuPage County, so as a criminal defense attorney, I know how both sides of the aisle operate. I can anticipate and challenge many of the tactics used by prosecutors and help fashion a strong defense, or be proactive in negotiating for a lesser charge or a plea deal.
Reach out immediately if you are in Kendall County, Kane County, DuPage County, Grundy County, DeKalb County, or anywhere in the West Chicago Suburbs.
Domestic Violence in Illinois
The Illinois Attorney General’s website says that anyone who “hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member has broken Illinois Domestic Violence law.” The Domestic Violence Act of 1986 further clarifies that domestic violence charges may only be brought against someone who has committed a specific act against a specific type of person.
For a domestic violence charge, one of these relationships must have existed:
Married or unmarried people who live together (including roommates)
Someone who has or allegedly has a child in common (or another blood relative through the child in common)
Dating or engaged individuals (including same-sex couples)
People with disabilities and their personal assistants
Abusive acts include:
following or stalking
forcing someone to do something against their will
preventing someone from seeing their children
forcing someone to have sex
preventing someone from leaving
harassing by phone or text
interfering with someone’s job
preventing a handicapped individual from receiving the care they need
forcing a child or another person to witness any of the above acts of abuse
Possible Consequences and Penalties
The consequences and penalties associated with domestic violence are both general and specific. The nature of the act, as well as previous incidents or convictions, can certainly play a role in the penalties assessed.
First of all, a victim of domestic can go to the circuit court in the county in which they reside and request an order of protection. In some states, this may be called a restraining order, but in Illinois restraining orders are different. A restraining order, for instance, can prevent a neighbor from building a fence on a disputed property line.
An order of protection, which the alleged abuser is free to challenge, can last for up to two years. If the victim and abuser live together, a protective order can force the abuser to leave and stay away. Other provisions can be included that address child custody and mandatory counseling and treatment issues.
Other consequences include attendance at anger management classes, loss of parenting or custody privileges, possible deportation depending on your immigration status, and a loss of firearms possession. Both federal and state laws affect gun possession and domestic violence.
In Illinois, you must have a Firearms Owner Identification Card, which can be revoked or suspended, and you will have to relinquish your firearms. Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms or ammunition. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights.
A basic domestic violence charge in Illinois – committing one of the abusive acts listed above – is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, probation, and possible fines of up to $2,500. But matters can get worse if a prior conviction is involved, starting with a violation of a protective order and including almost any other crime, including battery, kidnapping, stalking, attempted or actual murder, as well as two or more previous convictions of domestic battery.
If these factors pertain, then the crime rises to Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years behind bars, as well as a possible fine of up to $25,000. If the accused has three or more convictions for domestic battery, the crime becomes a Class 3 felony with the potential for two to five years in prison, along with a potential fine of $25,000. With four or more previous domestic violence convictions, it becomes a Class 2 felony with a potential prison term of three to seven years, and a fine of up to $25,000.
Possible Defenses of Domestic Violence
Obviously, you want to avoid a domestic violence conviction, as the consequences can wreak havoc on your life. Defenses are available, however, and the two most obvious defenses are that you didn’t do it and that you have been falsely accused. It is not unusual for domestic partners to seek revenge for perceived or real slights or abuses that do not rise to the level of domestic violence. In short, you can argue that the alleged victim is not telling the truth – the classic “he said/she said” scenario regardless of the genders involved.
You can also argue that what happened was done in self-defense and/or that you lacked the motive necessary to carry out the abuse with which you are being charged. The prosecutors must prove that you had the intent to inflict bodily injury or other harm on the alleged victim – no intent = no crime.
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Serving Chicago's West Suburbs
If you are accused of domestic violence, you have rights. Don’t rush to agree to a guilty plea or even a plea bargain without consulting with me to discuss what really happened and how we can develop a strong defense. I can also take your side of the story to prosecutors in hopes of getting the charge lessened or even dropped altogether. If you’re facing real or possible domestic violence charges in Chicago’s West Suburbs, reach out immediately to the Mockaitis Law Group LLC. Let’s work together for the best possible outcome.