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Elgin criminal defense attorneyEven though most people never intend to run afoul of the law, there are some situations where a person may be accused of harming someone else, and these may lead to criminal charges. In some cases, an argument or disagreement may get out of control, causing a person to feel threatened, or a physical fight may break out, resulting in injuries. These situations could lead to assault and/or battery charges. While these charges are often used together, they are two separate offenses, and it is important to understand the distinctions between them. Depending on the circumstances of a case, assault or battery may be charged as a misdemeanor, or aggravating factors may lead to felony charges.

Assault Charges

A person may be charged with assault if they knowingly take actions that would reasonably cause someone else to fear that they will suffer bodily harm or to believe that the person will make physical contact with them in an offensive or insulting manner. Since assault involves the threat or anticipation of action, a person may be charged with this offense if they verbally threaten to harm someone else, pull back their fist in preparation to punch someone, or brandish a weapon in a threatening manner.

At the most basic level, assault is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. However, a charge may be elevated to aggravated assault if a case involved certain aggravating factors. If assault is committed in a public place, if a person used a deadly weapon while committing assault, or if the alleged victim was a teacher, school employee, person with physical disabilities, person over the age of 60, park district employee, transit employee, sports official, or security guard, aggravated assault may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If a person allegedly discharged a firearm while committing assault or threatened to run someone over with a vehicle, or if the alleged victim was a police officer, fireman, emergency medical technician, corrections officer, or probation officer, aggravated assault is a Class 4 felony.

Battery Charges

A person may be charged with battery if they knowingly caused bodily harm to someone else without legal justification or if they made physical contact with someone in a manner that was insulting or provoking. While assault and battery are often charged together, a person may be charged with battery even if they did not commit assault. For example, battery may involve striking someone from behind without warning.

In many cases, battery is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A charge may be elevated to aggravated battery based on many of the same aggravating factors as for assault, including the identity of the victim, the location where the incident occurred, and the use of a firearm or another deadly weapon. In addition, aggravated battery may be charged if the alleged victim suffered great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement. In many cases, aggravated battery is charged as a Class 3 felony. However, more serious felony charges may apply if aggravated assault was committed against a police officer or a child under the age of 13, or if a person injured someone by discharging a firearm. The maximum charge is a Class X felony, and a conviction may result in a jail sentence of up to 60 years or life in prison.

Contact Our Elgin Assault and Battery Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges of assault or battery, you will need a skilled attorney on your side to help you determine the best defense strategy. At The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we will advise you of your options, provide you with representation in court, and work to help you avoid a conviction wherever possible or negotiate a lesser charge to ensure that you will not face serious consequences. Contact our Kane County criminal defense lawyer at 847-488-0889 to set up a free consultation and get the defense you need.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073000050HCh%2E+V%2E+Art%2E+4%2E5&ActID=1999&ChapterID=55&SeqStart=27300000&SeqEnd=29800000

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assault, Kane County criminal defense attorneyLike many legal terms, people often use the word assault incorrectly. Although it is used casually to refer to aggressive or violent behavior, the Illinois Criminal Code defines the offense much more specifically. If you have been charged with assault, you are probably unsure of what to do next. The best start to effective criminal defense is educating yourself about your charges. If you are facing assault charges, read on to learn what exactly you are up against.

Assault and Battery Defined

The colloquial definition of assault usually refers to some type of physical altercation between individuals. What many think of as assault is actually two separate offenses according to the Illinois Criminal Code: assault and battery. The legal meaning of assault can only be completely understood when one considers the definition of battery.

Battery refers to instances when a person intentionally and without reason "(1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual." Battery can include things like a fist fight in a bar, slapping someone’s face, or even something as simple as poking someone in the chest with the intention of provoking them. Assault, in the legal sense, includes the threatening actions which precede aggressive or unwanted physical contact. More precisely, assault occurs when an individual is in "reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery."

Assault and Battery Are Often Charged in Conjunction With Each other

You have probably heard the phrase "assault and battery" before. These two crimes are often charged together but can also be charged separately. An example of an action which would probably lead to an assault charge but not a battery charge is if a person attempted to strike another but missed. Because physical contact was not made, a battery charge would not be appropriate. However, the person who was almost hit experienced assault because he or she was in fear of being punched.

Assault Must Be Intentional

In order for an action to be considered assault, the person committing the action must have knowingly put the target in reasonable apprehension of being hurt. So, actions which are unintentional or accidental cannot be considered assault. Assault can also be justified in situations of self-defense.

Get the Legal Help You Need

Assault or battery charges can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. A conviction can result in jail time and significant fines. If you are facing charges for any type of violent crime, contact a knowledgeable Elgin criminal defense attorney for help. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

assault, Kane County criminal defense attorneyOne of the most confusing aspects of the law is the way in which certain words are used. In many instances, the legal definition of a word may be very different from its everyday, colloquial meaning. The primary reason for this phenomenon is that, under the law, words must be defined very carefully and in such a way that they can be understood throughout a given jurisdiction. Failure to do so can cause significant confusion for law enforcement, judges, attorneys, juries, and defendants. A common example of a word used differently in casual conversation and legal terminology is the word "assault." The meaning of assault according to the Illinois Criminal Code is not exactly what you might expect.

What Is Assault?

When you talk about an assault in a normal conversation, you are most likely referring to a situation in which one party—an individual, military squad, or other group—attacked and inflicted violence on another party. "I saw the man assault that girl." "The SWAT team conducted a nighttime assault on the suspect’s compound." In most cases, its definition is pretty clear.

The criminal offense of assault, however, is much different. The casual definition that most people use for assault actually encompasses two separate offenses when considered from the perspective of the Illinois Criminal Code. What you consider assault is actually more likely to be assault and battery, and the legal meaning of assault depends on that of battery.

Assault and Battery

According to the law, assault means knowingly placing another person "in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery." So what is a battery? Battery is committed when a person knowingly and without justification "(1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual." In short, battery is the actual violence inflicted, while assault is merely the actions leading up to the violence, causing the victim to believe that he or she is about to receive a battery.

Separate But Related Charges

While the two are often prosecuting in conjunction with one another—hence the common phrase "assault and battery"—they may also be charged separately. For example, if you, without provocation, throw a punch at another person, but your intended victim ducks out the way, you could still be charged with assault for your actions. You did not make physical contact or cause bodily harm, so no battery was committed, but the case could be made that your target was reasonably apprehensive about being punched.

Conversely—continuing with the simplified example of a punch—if you throw a punch at a person whose back is turned and is unaware of your presence, and your punch lands, you could certainly be charged with battery. Assault, however, might be tougher, as your target simply received the battery without you creating reasonable apprehension.

Get the Legal Help You Need

Charges for assault or battery can range from a Class C misdemeanor all the way up to a Class X felony, depending on the circumstance of the case. If you have been charged, the impact to your life can be very serious. For assistance with your assault case, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=21100000&SeqEnd=23000000:

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fight video, new law, Elgin criminal defense lawyerAll over the nation, videos of teens and young adults fighting have been uploaded to various websites. There has been growing concern that this practice encourages violent behavior and acts of violence. Recently, one Illinois lawmaker proposed a bill to make the practice illegal.

What the Proposed Bill Would Do

While the proposed bill itself is only a paragraph long, it has several different components. The measure would categorize several different types of behavior under the Class A misdemeanor of disorderly conduct.

In order to qualify as a crime of disorderly conduct, the person would first have to knowingly upload a video to a social media website or a social networking website containing footage of:

  • A crime being committed;
  • A gang-related fight;
  • A battery committed with the intent to cause a person to become unconscious; or
  • Other display of violence

The person uploading the video would also have to do so with the intention of promoting or condoning the activity in the video. Additionally, it would also be a crime not to give law enforcement a copy of the uploaded video if it was requested.

Problems With the Bill

The intention behind the bill is to curb the disturbing trend of teens and young adults posting so-called knockout videos and staging fights to later post online. The proposed measure, however, may present several problems if enacted as currently drafted.

First, the list of actions that cannot be filmed and uploaded is broad. With terms like  "a crime being committed" and "other acts of violence" it could include every crime now on the books and even, arguably, videos of vicious football hits and martial arts competitions.

Second, the bill only addresses uploading to "social media" and "social networking" sites. Someone could still post the video to a personal website. Defining what a social media site or social networking site is could be difficult for prosecutors and the court.

Lastly, it would be tough for prosecutors to prove that someone uploaded a video with the intention of promoting or condoning the activity. Even if it could be proven, doing so may may infringe on people’s First Amendment right to free speech. 

Other Solutions?

There is some argument that the bill is not needed because existing laws already make the targeted conduct illegal. The crime of conspiracy would apply to anyone working with criminals to film their exploits. Depending on how closely the videographers and the criminals are working, the videographers could be charged with the same crime as those actually committing the violence, similar to the way the driver of a getaway car can also be charged with bank robbery, without even entering the bank.

If you have been charged with a crime, you need to speak with a skilled Elgin criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation right away at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Do not speak to anyone about your case until you have talked to a lawyer.

Sources:

http://wqad.com/2016/02/09/illinois-lawmaker-wants-to-make-posting-fight-videos-a-crime/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=88&GA=99&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4419&GAID=13&LegID=93213&SpecSess=&Session=

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