What is Battery?
Simply put, it is the unlawful touching of another person.
Battery can easily be confused with Assault, while it is in fact completely different. It requires actual physical contact such as pushing or intentionally causing bodily harm. A punch or a shove is clearly a Battery, but in some situations it is less clear. For example, a court has held that spitting on another person is a Battery, despite the absence of direct physical contact. Also, taking a box of matches away from the hands of another in anger is also considered a Battery. Likewise, a person suffers a Battery if the contact alters the victim’s body in any way, even if the alteration appears to be physically beneficial, such as a surgeon’s unconsented removal of a wart.
720 ILCS 5/12-3
(a) A person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means
(1) causes bodily harm to an individual or
(2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.
Battery is a Class A misdemeanor.
There are several defenses. The first is simply, “I did not do it.” For example, a person might claim you pushed him or her, and you say it never happened. Another defense is that the other person was either about to strike you or did strike you, and you were defending yourself (self defense). However, you can only cite self defense if you defended yourself with similar force. An example of this is if someone punches you with his or her fist, you cannot use a gun to defend yourself.
Strategies to Win your Case:
The first step is obtaining all of the evidence, police reports, and witness statements. The second is to obtain actual testimony from your accuser. Testimony is obtained by filing pre-trial motions and require the person claiming to be victim to have to testify. Once his or her testimony is on the record, he or she cannot change their story without seriously damaging their case. A trial will likely be required to prove to the judge that a person is not guilty.
Like Assault, simple Battery is a misdemeanor in Illinois. The charge can be Aggravated Battery when certain factors are present. If the crime is committed using a firearm, it is considered a Class X felony and is subject to the sentencing guidelines for such a classification, explained above.
For more specific information call Attorney Young for a no-obligatyion consultation.