In Illinois, there are numerous types of violent crimes. But only certain types of violent actions are classified as domestic violence crimes. That's why you should understand the laws concerning domestic violence and what might in store for you if you're convicted of a domestic violence crime.
Here are five things you might not know about domestic violence laws in Illinois.
- For a crime to be considered a domestic violence crime, the offender and the victim have to have a specific relationship. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act describes the specific types of relationships that qualify for domestic violence. If you are involved in one of these relationships and you commit and act of violence, you can be charged with domestic violence:
- Married, divorced, or separated spouses
- Current or former dating relationship
- Parent or stepparent and child or stepchild
- Parents who have children together
- Family relatives by blood
- Relatives by blood through a child
- Current or former roommates
- Caregiver and disabled or elderly adult
- You can be charged with “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.” If you have committed an act of domestic violence and you knowingly prevent or attempt to prevent the victim or a witness from calling 911, getting medical help, or contacting a police officer, you can be charged with interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. This is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, which is punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. So if you've committed domestic violence and try to keep someone from reporting it, you could be charged with two offenses – one for the violence, and one for interfering.
- If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, you cannot possess a gun. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban says that anyone who has been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or who is under a protective order for domestic abuse can't own, use, ship, or transport firearms or ammunition. What that means is if you're convicted of domestic violence, you will have to give up any guns you may already have and you won't be able to get them back.
- Aggravated domestic battery is a felony. Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor, but aggravated domestic battery is a felony. What makes it an “aggravated” domestic battery? If you cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, disfigurement, or strangle the victim during a domestic battery, you will be charged with aggravated domestic battery. This is a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by at least 3 years in jail but not more than 7 years.
- If you've already been convicted of domestic battery, a second domestic battery charge will be a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If you have a prior domestic battery conviction, a second domestic battery charge will be a Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony is punishable by at least 1 to 3 years in jail. You can also be charged with a Class 4 felony if you have prior convictions for committing other violent crimes – murder, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, aggravated domestic battery – against a family or household member.
Getting charged with domestic violence is a serious crime that can have debilitating repercussions for all aspects of your life if you're convicted. That's why you should contact an experienced Chicago domestic violence attorney who will help to protect your life and your freedom.