What is battery? Simply put, battery is the unlawful touching of another person.
While it can easily be confused with assault, battery is in fact completely different. Battery requires actual physical contact, such as pushing or intentionally causing bodily harm. 720 ILCS 5/12-3. A punch or a shove is clearly a battery, but in some situations, whether an act is a battery can be much less clear.
Despite there being no direct contact, spitting on another person has been held to be a battery. People v. Wrencher, 2011 IL App (4th) 080619, ¶ 55. Even a box of matches away from the hands of another in anger has been found to constitute battery. People v. Beifeld, 171 Ill.App. 614, 615 (1912). A victim of a battery suffers harm if the contact alters the victim’s body in any way, even if the alteration is physically beneficial, such as a surgeon’s unconsented removal of a wart. Sondag v. Pneumo Abex Corp., 2016 IL App (4th) 140918 ¶ 31 (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 15 cmt. a, at 27 (1965).
Illinois Battery Statute:
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.
Defenses to Battery:
There are several defenses to a charge of battery. The first is simply, “I did not do it.” For example, someone might say you pushed them and you say it never happened. The second defense is that the other person was either about to strike you or did strike you and you were defending yourself, (self defense). Self defense is often cited, however, you can only defend yourself with similar force. So, if someone punches you with his or her fist, you cannot use a gun to defend yourself. The force you use has to be similar to the force that was used against you.
Strategies to Win a Battery Case:
Obtaining all of the evidence, police reports, witness statements is the first step. The second is to obtain actual testimony from your accuser. I can do this by filing a pre-trial motion and require the person claiming to be victim to have to testify. Once his or her testimony is on the record, they cannot change the story without seriously damaging the case. Usually, a trial is required to prove to the judge that a person is not guilty.
Like assault, simple battery is a misdemeanor in Illinois. When certain factors are present, battery can be aggravated and, thus, a Class 3 felony. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.-5. In fact, if a battery 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.