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Is There a Difference Between Assault and Battery in Illinois?

 Posted on September 13, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Will County criminal defense attorneyThe terms “assault” and “battery” often go hand in hand, which may cause someone to think it is one crime. However, they are separate offenses according to Illinois criminal law. Under the Illinois Criminal Code, criminal charges are divided into two groups: offenses against property, and offenses against a person. Crimes against property can be in the form of robbery, burglary, theft, and arson. Crimes against individuals can include kidnapping, sexual abuse/assault, homicide, and “bodily harm.” Assault and battery fall under bodily harm, and the penalties can differ depending on the circumstances of the case.

Two Distinct Crimes

Illinois law states that an assault occurs when an individual “engages in intentional conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” That includes a verbal or implied threat (menacing hand gestures or body language) of battery that causes an individual to feel afraid of impending violence. Approaching someone with raised or clenched fists is likely to be considered assault. 

Battery is committed when a person “intentionally or knowingly causes bodily harm to an individual,” or “makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.” Acts that constitute battery can include pushing, striking, kicking another person, or throwing an object at someone, resulting in injury.

Penalties for Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are classified as misdemeanor charges in Illinois. However, certain circumstances will enhance the charges to aggravated assault or aggravated battery. 

Simple assault is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. Penalties include: 

  • Up to $1,500 in fines 
  • Up to 30 days in confinement
  • Community service for 30 hours to 120 hours (if available) 
  • Probation for up to two years
  • Restitution (reimbursing the victim for damages)

Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor but much more serious in nature, and in some cases, it can even be charged as a felony. Aggravating factors include committing assault with a firearm, if the offender disguises him or herself with a mask or hood, against victims of certain ages or occupations (minors or law enforcement officers), or at designated locations (schools, churches).

Simple battery is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. Penalties include:

  • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Up to one year imprisonment
  • Probation for up to two years
  • Restitution (reimbursing the victim for damages)

Aggravated battery is defined as inflicting “great bodily harm” and can include some of the same factors as in aggravated assault. It is important to note that all aggravated batteries are charged as felonies. 

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Assault and battery are serious charges in the state of Illinois, regardless if they are classified as “simple” or “aggravated.” Being convicted of such crimes can have a lasting effect on your record as well as your personal and professional life. A moment of anger can turn into rage and lead to breaking the law. People make mistakes and that is why you need the guidance of a skilled legal team if you are facing these charges. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, our tenacious Joliet assault and battery defense attorneys will build a strong defense and fight on behalf of your rights. Call our office today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 




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