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Posted on in Assault & Battery

You have probably heard it dozens of times on the news. Mr. John Doe has been charged with assault and battery following his arrest last night. Sometimes you may hear of a suspect being charged with simple assault with no mention of battery. It can seem very confusing but if you or someone you love is the one facing the charges, knowing the difference between the two can be extremely helpful to your case.

Based on the law’s definition of the terms, it makes more sense to start with what constitutes battery. According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, 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. Any charge of battery must be shown to have been intentional, and the insulting or provoking nature clause allows for a more open interpretation than bodily harm."

The law also includes a number of factors that can change simple battery to aggravated battery, which the state considers a felony. These factors include, among others, the level of harm caused, the age, physical condition, or disability of the victim, and the use of a firearm. Battery which it committed against a family or household member is known as domestic battery, and also may be considered a felony based on the situation.

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My client was accused of having inappropriate contact with a fellow gymnastics instructor and former student.    At trial, I successfully argued that the mental state required in the proving the offense of Battery was not present and that the credibility of the witnesses weighed in favor of my client.   After a trial, a judge acquitted my client of the criminal Battery Charges placed against him.    This protected my client from a punishment that ranged up to one year in jail and would have had a devastating effect on his future coaching career.

Criminal defense trial attorneys should always examine the elements of criminal charges carefully to expose weaknesses in the prosecution's case.    Criminal cases involving sexual assault, battery, and other allegations of personal harm will always involve a complaining victim.   Careful consideration must be given to credibility of these alleged victims in evaluating a criminal case.

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