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What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery in Illinois?

 Posted on August 30,2021 in Criminal Law

joliet criminal defense lawyerIllinois criminal law divides criminal conduct into two main categories: Crimes against property and crimes against a person. If a thief broke into a home and stole money, but nobody else was home, then the thief committed an offense against property. However, if the same thief confronted someone on the street with a gun and stole their wallet, the crime is robbery and is considered an offense against a person. 

Assault and battery are both offenses against a person. Because assault and battery are often discussed in the same context, many people believe they always happen together or are the same crime. However, assault and battery are two distinct legal offenses that describe different behaviors and carry different penalties. 

What is Battery?

The crime of battery is committed when one person, without legal authority or justification, intentionally causes bodily harm to another person or makes physical contact in a way that insults or provokes the victim. Serious physical harm does not have to take place in order for someone to be successfully prosecuted with battery. A single slap, punch, or even finger poke in the chest could be considered battery. 

Aggravated battery takes place when certain additional criteria are met, including when the act of battery: 

  • Causes serious bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability

  • Is committed against a public servant, such as a police officer or fireman

  • Is committed against an adult over 60, a child under 13, a pregnant woman, or a person with a severe disability

  • Takes place in a public area, such as a sports venue, domestic violence shelter, or church

What is Assault? 

Assault occurs when someone behaves in such a way that the recipient of the behavior reasonably believes that an act of battery is about to take place. A real or implied threat of battery is an assault whether the person committing the assault intends to actually commit battery or not. Some examples of assault may include: 

  • Trying to spit on someone

  • Pretending or miming a punch, hit, or kick

  • Carrying, moving, or displaying a weapon in such a way that causes someone to believe the weapon could be used against them

  • Pointing a gun at someone, even if it is unloaded 

Regardless of the method used, to show an assault took place, a prosecutor must prove that:

  • The person who committed the alleged assault (the defendant) intended to make the victim believe they would suffer immediate harm

  • The defendant behaved in a way that implied they were going to physically hurt or cause offense to the victim

  • The victim believed the defendant’s behavior would be harmful

  • The victim believed the potential harm was immediate

Speak with a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges of assault or battery, speak with a Plainfield criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your options under Illinois law. The attorneys with Reeder & Brown, P.C. have experience with cases like yours and can help you build a strong defense against the charges. Schedule a free initial consultation and get the legal support you need. Call us at 815-885-5980



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