DuPage County Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence in DuPage County, contact former prosecutor Gus Kostopoulos today for a free consultation. Gus has over 18 years experience handling criminal law matters.
If convicted of a domestic violence offense, you could face significant short-term and long-term consequences. A conviction can not only land you in jail, but also result in fines, losing custody of your children, and deportation. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you fight the domestic battery charges against you.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence, for the purposes of the Act, is defined as physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or the interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation. Since law enforcement and state prosecutors can apply the Act broadly, examples of behavior that may be considered domestic violence may include:
- Hair pulling;
- Throwing objects;
- Waving or discharging weapons; and
- Loud and excessive yelling.
In Illinois, physical contact or bodily harm is not required for a conviction under the Act. You may be convicted of domestic violence without causing any physical harm. Proving domestic violence without physical evidence can be difficult. Contact an experienced DuPage County domestic violence defense attorney to increase the chances of having domestic violence charges reduced or dropped.
When is Violence “Domestic”?
How is a crime of domestic violence different from another similar crime? For example, when does a battery turn into a domestic battery? An act of domestic violence occurs when the victim is identified as a family or household member, as defined by the Act. Under the Act, these include:
- Spouse or former spouse;
- Parent, child, or stepchild;
- Other relative, whether by blood or marriage, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, and cousin;
- Dating or engaged couples; and
- Individuals with disabilities.
So, if you punch a co-worker, you could be charged with battery. If, on the other hand, you punched your live-in girlfriend or wife, you could be charged with domestic violence or domestic battery. The consequences for the “domestic” charges are generally much more severe.
Other Illinois Domestic Violence Laws
The Illinois Domestic Violence Act is not the only source of domestic violence law. In addition to charges under the Act, you may also face charges under the following Illinois laws.
Domestic Battery occurs when you knowingly cause bodily harm or engage in unwanted physical contact with a family or household member.
Sexual Assault occurs when you commit an act of sexual penetration using force or threat, without consent, or with a family member.
Elder Abuse occurs when you recklessly or knowingly cause an elderly person to be endangered, either physically or mentally.
Stalking occurs when you knowingly, and on two or more occasions, engage in conduct that is likely to cause fear or emotional distress.
Telephone Harassment occurs when you use a phone to harass, abuse, or threaten another person.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
The penalties associated with crimes of domestic violence are almost as varied as the crimes themselves. The state will weigh and balance certain factors to determine the penalties that may be imposed. Factors may include your criminal record, history of complaints against you, and the facts and circumstances specific to your case.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence
Absent aggravating factors, domestic violence is generally a Class A Misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face up to one year in jail, be required to pay monetary fines, and/or probation.
Felony Domestic Violence
You may be charged with a Class 4 Felony if you (1) have at least one prior conviction for domestic violence; (2) committed a battery with a firearm; (3) committed a battery against a child; or (4) committed a battery involving a sexual assault. If convicted, you may face 1-3 years in prison and/or be required to pay monetary fines of up to $25,000.
Aggravated Domestic Battery
You may be charged with a Class 2 Felony if you (1) cause great bodily injury, permanent disability, or disfigurement; or (2) strange a family or household member during a battery. If convicted, you may face 3-7 years in prison and/or be required to pay monetary fines of up to $25,000.
You may also face additional consequences in addition to these penalties. It is not uncommon for courts or plea bargains to require completion of anger management, counseling, and probation. Victims of domestic violence may also pursue civil claims against an alleged attacker. In addition to requesting monetary compensation, victims may ask a judge to issue an Order of Protection. If you are the subject of an Order of Protection your ability to move freely and go about your daily activities could be compromised.
Defenses to Allegations of Domestic Violence
The DuPage County criminal lawyers at Kostopolous Law Group understand that not all allegations of domestic violence are true. The laws are in place to protect victims, so law enforcement officers responding to a report of domestic violence may tend to overcompensate for the alleged victim. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence our attorneys can help to defend you in court. Defenses to charges of domestic violence may include:
- Mistaken identity;
- False allegation;
- Lack of family or household relationship;
- Self-defense of yourself or defense of another person.
Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986
While Illinois has a number of laws on the books, you are most likely to be charged under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (Act). The Act specifically requires that the law be “liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes.” This means that the state has a lot of discretion in applying the law. Even if the behavior is not expressly forbidden in the Act, the prosecutor may use his or her discretion to decide whether the behavior was meant to be covered by the law.
Experienced DuPage County Domestic Violence Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been accused, arrested, or charged with domestic violence in DuPage County you should contact an attorney immediately. Your chances of successfully fighting the allegations improve significantly when you hire an attorney. At Kostopolous Law Group, our DuPage County criminal attorneys have decades of experience helping clients like you fight baseless or frivolous criminal charges.
When you contact us, we will review and analyze the details of your case, explain your legal rights, and create a custom legal defense to minimize the consequences you may face. We understand that a domestic violence conviction can have lifelong consequences and work tirelessly to help our clients get back to their lives with little-to-no interruption.