Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Chicago?

Domestic violence is not limited to the home. Victims of domestic violence can also include roommates and dating partners. Recent reports from North Central College indicate that there were at least 4 reports of domestic violence on the school’s campus in 2015 and 2016. College students who are accused of crimes of domestic violence can face serious criminal consequences if they are convicted.

Crimes of Domestic Violence in Chicago

Domestic violence is a crime that can extend beyond the home. Perpetrators and their victims do not have to be related by blood. Rather, domestic violence is a defined as an act of violence within a relationship between:

  • Spouses;
  • Former spouses;
  • Individuals in a dating relationship;
  • Engaged couples;
  • Parents and their children;
  • Parents and their stepchildren;
  • Parents who share a child;
  • Family members related by blood;
  • Roommates;
  • Former roommates; and
  • Disabled/elderly adults and caregivers.

On a college campus, couples involved in a relationship, former couples, and roommates could all potentially get caught up in a situation involving domestic violence. Crimes of domestic violence can include physical harm, emotional distress, and/or sexual harm.

Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Chicago?

It depends. The crime of domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Chicago. The specific facts and circumstances of each case of domestic violence will be used to determine which charges are appropriate.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

In Chicago, the crime of domestic violence is generally charged as “domestic battery.” Domestic battery occurs when you intentionally cause physical harm to a family or household member (as described above). Minor physical disputes and incidents will generally result in misdemeanor domestic violence charges. Domestic battery can be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. A conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence can be punished by 1 year in jail, 2 years of probation, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Felony Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be charged as a Class 4 Felony in Chicago if you have a prior conviction for a violent felony. Violent felonies include (but are not limited to) first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal sexual assault, stalking, unlawful restraint, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and arson. Charges for felony domestic violence can also be appropriate when a firearm is used or discharged in the act.

Domestic violence can be charged as a Class 2 Felony in Chicago if the abuse is likely to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability. Strangulation is specifically defined as a type of aggravated domestic violence.

Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence in Chicago

The penalty for felony domestic violence will depend on the specific facts of each case.

Class 2 Felony: Domestic violence that is likely to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability carries a possible criminal sentence of:

  • 3-7 years in an Illinois state prison; or
  • Probation with a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in prison; and/or
  • Fines of up to $25,000.

Class 4 Felony: When the accused has a prior conviction for a violent felony or uses a weapon, domestic violence carries a possible criminal sentence of:

  • 1-3 years in an Illinois state prison;
  • Fines of up to $25,000.

A conviction for felony domestic violence can also result in protective orders and the loss of certain gun rights.

Defending Allegations of Domestic Violence

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Chicago it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help to limit the criminal charges you face for your alleged crime. The differences between misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges are significant. Hiring an attorney to defend you could be the difference between a sentence of probation and a sentence of imprisonment.

At Kostopoulos Law Group, our domestic violence defense attorneys are dedicated to making sure that our client’s rights are protected. We will aggressively attack the prosecution’s case against you and fight to get the charges you face dismissed or reduced. Contact our criminal defense lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We will answer any questions you may have about the domestic violence charges you face and explain why hiring an attorney is an important step in controlling your future.

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