Illinois Assault and Battery Laws

Overview of Illinois Assault and Battery Law

Although assault and battery are related crimes, the two terms are distinct criminal offenses under the laws of the state. A state prosecutor may charge the two offenses separately. However, because Illinois laws define an assault as "conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery," an understanding of assault requires an understanding of battery.

A prosecutor must prove one of two types of conduct to prove a charge of battery:

  • Conduct causing bodily harm to another person; or
  • Insulting, provocative, or unwanted physical contact with another person.

In an assault, the defendant's conduct generally does not include physical contact or physical injury caused to the victim.

Aggravated Assault and Battery

In accordance with Illinois assault and battery laws, the state may elevate a charge of battery to aggravated battery, a more serious crime, under circumstances described by law. For example, any conduct causing severe bodily injury, disfigurement, or a permanent disability likely qualifies as an aggravated battery. State law also requires a charge of aggravated battery if the defendant used a firearm or deadly weapon, used an explosive device, or caused harm to a specified person such as a child or peace officer. Similar circumstances can elevate a charge of assault to aggravated assault.

For a charge of either assault or battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly committed the act.

Illinois Assault and Battery Laws Overview

Below you will find key provisions of Illinois's assault and battery laws.

Statutes

Illinois Statutes Chapter 720 (Simple Assault)

Illinois Statutes Chapter 720 (Aggravated Assault)

Illinois Statutes Chapter 720 (Battery)

Penalties

  • Assault: Assault is a Class C misdemeanor under Illinois assault and battery law, which can result in jail time for up to 30 days, a fine in an amount up to $1,500, or both. Alternatively, the court may sentence the defendant to perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service.
  • Aggravated Assault: The potential sentence for a conviction of aggravated assault depends on whether the state prosecutor charged the offense as a Class A misdemeanor or as a Class 4 felony. A Class A misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to one year, a fine in an amount up to $2,500, or both. A Class 4 felony may result in a term of imprisonment for one to three years, a fine in an amount up to $25,000, or both. If the defendant has one or more prior convictions for the same crime, the state may use sentencing enhancement laws to increase the term of imprisonment to a maximum of three to six years.
  • Battery: Although battery is a Class A misdemeanor, aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony unless the state prosecutor can elevate the charge to a Class 2, Class 1, or Class X felony. A Class 3 felony may result in a term of imprisonment for two to five years. For a Class 2, Class 1, and Class X felony, the term of imprisonment might increase up to a term of 30 years. If the defendant has one or more prior convictions for the same crime, the state may use sentencing enhancement laws to increase the term of imprisonment to a maximum of 60 years, depending on the class of felony.

***The penalties and sentencing for a defendant convicted of assault or battery depend on the severity of the crime, any aggravating circumstances, and the defendant's past criminal history.***

Possible Defenses (Not an exhaustive list)

  • Self-defense or defense of another person
  • Defense of property
  • Consent of the victim to the contact (in a battery)
  • Lack of reasonable apprehension about impending battery (in an assault)

Additional Sentencing Information

For most types of assault and battery, the court may agree to sentence the defendant to a term of probation rather than require imprisonment. Felony X offenses, however, do not qualify for probation.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Illinois Codes and Legal Research Options

Illinois Assault and Battery: Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Illinois's related criminal laws, click on the following links:

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