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Domestic Battery or Domestic Violence Charge in Illinois

A domestic battery, also called a domestic violence charge, is a lot like a regular battery charge, it just involves someone who is a family or household member, instead of a stranger. In Illinois, a domestic battery alleges a person intentionally and knowingly either

  • Causes bodily harm or
  • Makes contact that is insulting or provoking.

Note this second option does not require proof that a family or household member was actually injured.

What happens after the arrest?

Domestic battery cases in Cook County require an overnight stay in the Cook County jail before having a bond hearing the following morning. This is different than other misdemeanors where someone who has been arrested can bond out at the police station. This requires the really unfortunate overnight night stay at the jail instead of bonding out at the station. The person then appears before a judge who will set bond on the case after hearing the alleged facts.

Bond in Cook County Domestic Battery Cases

Bond on domestic battery and domestic violence cases can range from an “I Bond” which means the person is released from jail in their own recognizance without having to post any money or a “D bond” which requires posting 10% of the bond. For example, if the bond was set at $5000 D bond, the person, or someone on behalf of that person, would have to post $500 to get out of jail.

Often bonds for domestic battery come with special conditions that are requirements the person must follow once they are released. Usually, it involves staying away from the person they are alleged to have battered, sometimes for 48 hours or sometimes while the entire case goes on.

Some special conditions of bond prohibit the defendant from going to certain locations, like where the alleged victim lives, even when the defendant lives there too. There are at times stay away orders that include having to stay away from certain children, animals, and places of work. Another normal requirement is “no contact” between the defendant and the alleged victim (also known as a complaining witness). Any violations of the bond can result in a bond violation where the judge can take the defendant into custody and increase the amount of bond that has to be posted for the defendant to be out of custody.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in Chicago

Sometimes these charges also result in an emergency order of protection being entered. Usually, an order of protection has similar conditions to the special bond conditions like staying away from the complaining witness, their house and their job, and no contact with them at all. A violation of the order of protection is a criminal offense that can result in another arrest.

If one of the conditions is the defendant cannot go to where the complaining witness lives but that’s ALSO where the defendant lives, the defendant cannot go back there under the order.

However, an attorney can ask the judge for an order letting the defendant back in their own home, accompanied by a police officer, to retrieve their stuff so they have it while the condition is in place. Often people want their clothes, computers, phone and work gear so they can go on with their life while the case is pending.

Criminal Penalties for Domestic Battery in IL

A domestic battery is a class A misdemeanor in Illinois meaning it’s punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and up to $2500 in fines. There are situations where a domestic battery can be a felony depending on how severely the complaining witness was hurt or if weapons were involved or if the defendant has certain prior convictions. The courts will also take into account if it was done in the presence of a child. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2 (b)

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