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Illinois Assault Defenses



According to Illinois assault law, you can be found guilty of committing assault without ever touching another person. Thats because the state defines assault as the threat of causing immediate physical harm. This means that you dont actually have to cause physical harm to be charged with assault.

If you are charged with assault, you will want to educate yourself about Illinois criminal defense law. You will also want to consult with an Illinois criminal lawyer. An attorney can review the facts of your charges and help you devise the best defense for your case.

What Is Illinois Assault?

As mentioned, to be charged under Illinois assault laws, you do not need to actually make physical contact with another person. All you have to do is instill a reasonable sense of fear in another person.

For example, suppose you and someone else are involved in a verbal dispute. Tensions escalate, and you end up waving your fist in front of the persons face. Although you never actually touched the person with your fist, this kind of conduct in Illinois may constitute assault.

This type of assault, which does not involve a weapon or an additional crime such as robbery, is known as simple assault.

There is another type of assault that is considered more serious than simple assault. Under Illinois assault law, if someone threatens another person with a deadly weapon, such as a knife or a gun, then he or she may be charged with aggravated assault. There are additional scenarios in which you may be charged with aggravated assault. Some of these scenarios include:

  • You were concealing your face with a mask to hide your identity when the assault occurred
  • You assault a teacher on school grounds
  • You assault a park district worker while on or near park district property
  • You assault a State Department of Public Aid worker while he or she is on the job
  • You assault a police officer or firefighter while he or she is on the job
  • You assault a physically handicapped person
  • You assault someone who is 60 years old or older

Penalties for Assault in Illinois

Under Illinois assault law, simple assault is considered a class C misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is considered a lesser crime against the state and is usually punishable by no more than a year in jail, a small fine, or a combination of both. In Illinois, simple assault could land you as much as 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. You may also have to serve up to 120 hours of community service.

Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is considered a class A misdemeanor in Illinois. It can entail up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If the aggravated assault is more serious, as it does when it involves the discharge of a firearm, it may be classified as a class 4 felony in Illinois. A felony is a more serious crime against the state than a misdemeanor. Under Illinois assault law, a class 4 felony can result in as much as three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

Illinois Assault Defenses

The specific type of assault defense you and your lawyer choose to rely upon will depend in large part on the details of your case.

For example, if you are being charged with simple assault, your lawyer may wish to show that the alleged victims accusation is out of line. Specifically, the lawyer may try to show that the accusation that you threatened violence was overstated. He or she may also attempt to show the alleged victims fear of injury was not reasonable.

Your attorney may also try to prove you were using self-defense. Self-defense is when you threaten or use force against another person because you feel your personal safety or someone elses personal safety is in jeopardy.

To use the self-defense defense, you and your attorney will need to show you believed it was necessary to defend yourself and that when defending yourself, you used a reasonable amount of force. In other words, if someone threatened to punch you, it most likely will not be considered a reasonable amount of force if you defended yourself by firing a gun.

You and your attorney may also attempt to engage the prosecution (the party in charge of trying to prove the assault charges) in a plea agreement. A plea agreement is when you strike a deal with the prosecution to admit guilt to a lesser crime, thereby avoiding a trial.

In some situations, your attorney may even be able to get the charges completely dropped, assuming this is your first offense and you voluntarily enroll in anger management classes or counseling.