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Now a Felony to Assault a Worker Enforcing Mask Policies in Illinois

Posted on in Felonies

IL defense lawyerSince there is no federal mandate for masks or social distancing to help combat the coronavirus, states are taking their own approach. Many, including Illinois, have opted for a mask mandate that requires people to wear cloth masks in public. Despite this mandate, police have no real way to enforce such mandates. The burden of enforcing these rules has fallen primarily on retail workers, who have the power to deny service and remove customers from a business if they refuse to comply.

As a result, many individuals around the country have assaulted such workers. Some states have not taken any steps to provide any additional protections for essential workers, but Governor Pritzker recently signed a bill into law allowing prosecutors to charge those who assault workers for upholding mask bans with a felony.

Assaults on Workers and Felony Charges in Illinois

To be more specific, assaults on workers who are enforcing mask or social distancing policies can be punished with aggravated battery felony charges. Before this new law, ordinary battery charges were only considered misdemeanors. Such an offense was punishable by up to a year in prison and fines up to $2,500. By elevating the unique case of coronavirus-related assaults to a felony, punishments become steeper. A felony can be punished by up to five years in prison and as much as ten years if the defendant has a criminal history. Also, these prison sentences can be paired with fines of up to $25,000.

Claiming Self-Defense to Fight Assault Charges

A common strategy for defendants and their attorneys is to argue that the defendant acted out of self-defense. However, to successfully win a case by claiming self-defense, any action the defendant took must have been reasonable. For example, if someone threatens a defendant and the defendant reacts with an action far more severe than the original threat, a self-defense argument may not be plausible.

Contact an Elgin, IL Defense Lawyer

Assault is a criminal offense that carries strong penalties. If you are charged with assaulting a worker for upholding medical policies, you should work closely with an attorney who has a wide breadth of experience defending clients from criminal charges in Illinois. To work with an Elgin, IL criminal defense attorney, schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola by calling 847-488-0889.

 

Source:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/08/11/illinois-coronavirus-assaulting-worker-enforcing-face-masks-felony/3342856001/

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