MCHENRY COUNTY ASSAULT AND BATTERY ATTORNEY

Usually charged as misdemeanor offenses, assault and battery charges start of in McHenry County's courtroom 104. Assault charges are brought pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/12-1 and battery charges pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/12-3.

Battery

The charge of battery requires that the State prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:

  • Intent - The defendant has to intend to commit the battery. Specifically, he has to act with knowledge that the act will result in a battery. While this mens rea element can be easily described, a detailed conversation with a criminal defense attorney is going to be necessary to ecplain all the nuances and details.

AND

  • Without lawful justification - A victim who consents to the contact cannot later complain of it. For instance, it would be absurd if a boxer sues another boxer for punching him in the face. By entering the boxing ring, both parties consent to contact that is expected in a boxing match. However, neither boxer would be consenting to abnormal harm, like having an ear bitten off, as this is not expected to occur. 

AND

  • Causes bodily harm - this element can be proven by red marks, bruising, blood, or any other physical manifestation of injury. 

OR

  • Makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature - If someone spits on another person's face, there is probably not going to be any bruising or scratches, but it would most likely constitute a battery. The key here is reasonable. If a reasonable person would not find the contact insulting or provoking, then it doesn't matter if the victim did, the charges cannot stand. The test is an objective one.

Assault

Assault charges can be brought pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/12-1 if the victim is placed in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Essentially, if you act like you are going to punch someone and they flinch because they reasonably think you are about to hit them (commit a battery), then an assault charges would be appropriate.

Things can get confusing to a lot of non-lawyers, which is why it is imperative to consult a legal defense professional, because many battery offenses are also assaults. For example, if a person turns around just in time to see a fist flying toward them and before they are punched, both an assault (seeing the fist before contact) and a battery (the actual contact) were completed. 

Contrast this with a person standing in line when someone punches them in the back of their head. Only a battery was done because there was no time, or opportunity, for the victim to anticipate the contact before it was completed.

Assault charges are typically class c misdemeanors in the State of Illinois, but there are some facts or circumstances which may elevate the severity of the offense. 


DEFENSES

There are a variety of defenses available which, if artfully and tactifully employed, can result in a substantial reduction or dismissal of the charges. While a consultation with an experiencede attorney should be made to determine the applicability of a defense to any particular case, these are the broad categories of defenses available when faced with assault and battery charges.

Consent

This is discussed above, but the defense of consent largely relies on the principle that one cannot complain of something they brought upon themselves. A demolition derby driver cannot sue another driver for slamming his car into his because of the very nature of the activity they are engaged in. However, any conduct outside the scope of the activity, like one driver getting road rage and beating another with a bat, is not the sort of conduct typically involved in a derby and outside the scope of the consent.

Reasonableness

Defense attorneys love to argue that the reasonableness element of both assault and battery. For assault, the victim must be placed in reasonable apprehension of harmful contact. If their belief was not reasonable, no assault occurred. Similarly, a person battered must show that the contact would offend a reasonable person. Even if they were offended, the standard is an objective one. This defense gives lawyers plenty of latitude in closing arguements.

Many defenses flow from this single element and it is the most common, and successful, sort of argument against assault and battery charges (at least in McHenry County)

Intent

The issue, and defense, surrounding criminal intent is one that many years of law school are dedicated to. These issues are complicated and require a conversation with an attorney to fully discuss. The bottom line is that a defendant must have the required intent to commit the act complained of. For instance, if someone complains of a battery because she was struck in the rib by an elbow, it would be an affirmative and complete defense if the "attacker" was thrown off balance while riding the commuter bus when he accidentally hit the victim. Essentially, nobody can be held criminally responsible for an accident.

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How much are the legal fees to hire Evan E. Randall for assault or battery charges?

Charges of this nature typically start off in courtroom 104 of the McHenry County Courthouse. In many instances, a resolution is reached without the case having to be sent to a different courtroom (either 301 or 303). If the matter is able to be resolved in the first courtroom, the charge typically hovers aroung $600. If the matter must be sent upstairs, an additional amount, around $500, is required. In the rare instances of a trial, the cost and options are discussed on an as needed basis. Since many cases are resolved in courtroom 104, most of our clients are charged a single payment of around $600 for full legal representation.

What do I do if I am facing assault or battery charges?

The first thing that should be done is preserve any favorable evidence. If you acted in self defense, take pictures of the marks on your body supporting your version of events. The police will photograph the victim, but they rarely photograph the defendant's injuries because they do not want to assist in building the defense case. 

Next, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney and refuse to answer any questions without them being present. Evan E. Randall is regularly at various local police departments assisting clients in cases before charges are filed. In many instances, early legal involvement and strategic cooperation with investigative agencies can prevent charges from being brought in the first place.