The offense of Domestic Battery can be found at 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2. This statute sets forth the required elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. 

  • A family or houselhold member - there must be some sort of relationship between the defendant and the victim. This relationship can be through marriage, dating, blood, or living together. This is the single fact that separates domestic battery from a simple battery.


  • Knowingly - the defendant must be proven to have acted with intent. Known as the mens rea of the offense, a detailed conversation would be required to explain the nuances and complexities of this element. 


  • Causes bodily harm - this can be proven by marks, bruises, bleeding or other evidence that physical harm was caused.


  • Causes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature - There is no requirement that the physical harm be caused. If the contact would reasonably be expected to cause a person of normal sense to be offended, that may be sufficient. The key here is that the standard is objective. Even if the victim was offended, a jury can very well determine that a reasonable person would not have been offended and the defendant would be found not guilty. 

These are the elements of a domestic battery in their simplist form. Many nuances can be discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney, but this general overview provides a basic understanding. It is important to remember that it is the State's Attorney's burden to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt; the defendant does not need to disprove any element.


Domestic battery charges are typically classified as class a misdemeanors. This means that possible punishment can be up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Certain factors may elevate the offense to a felony and some of the more common ones include the defendant's criminal background, the status of the victim (ie. age, disability, pregnancy), or the type of contact made (ie. strangulation).

One of the special consequences that a Domestic Battery conviction can have pertains to the impact it will have on a criminal background. These offenses may never be expunged or sealed. Therefore, such a conviction will not be able to get removed without a pardon from the governor. For this reason alone, Domestic Battery charges must be vigorously defended against and a conviction must be avoided at all costs. 

Evan E. Randall has handled numerous charges such as these over the years. McHenry County aggressively prosecutes these crimes and it is crucial that an attorney attack the charges in an equally aggressive manner. If negotiations are not producing the desired result, then you need an attorney who is not afraid to push the matter all the way to a jury trial. 


How expensive is it to hire an attorney to defend against Domestic Battery charges?

One of our main objectives in to be transparent and our approach to legal fees is no different. Clients should know exactly how much something is going to cost them and what they can expect in return. Therefore, we charge a single amount that is known, and agreed to, right from the start of representation. While the amount varies based on certain facts learned during the initial consultation, the fees generally hover around $1,500. Typically, half is due at the beginning and the balance is spread out over monthly payments, but payment plans can be accomodated as situations dictate. 

What if the victim wants to drop the charges?

Often times, arguments escalate and someone, maybe neither of the people involved, calls the police department. When called to a domestic situation, police departments almost always make an arrest. Once the police arrive, the situation is often out of either person's hands. They interview those involved and pass the case onto the desk of the assigned State's Attorney. 

The process moves very quickly and can even without the cooperation from any person involved. Even if the victim calls and repeatedly voices an objection to the charges, the State's Attoreny almost never drop the case. McHenry County does not take these charges lightly and it is their decision to proceed with the case, not the victim's. 

Problems arise when there are statements, either written or oral, that are made to the police. A victim who exaggerates or lies because they are angry and "in the heat of the moment" may open themselves up to liability for filing a false police report, hindering an investigation, or even perjury if they later change their story (recant). 

If someone is arrested on Domestic Battery charges, it is important to get a criminal defense attorney involved immediately. With some assistance and guidance, charges may be dropped without exposing anyone to additional charges. If someone wants to help a person arrested and charged, they should hire them an attorney.