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How Are Assault Charges Defined In Illinois?


In Illinois, assault is defined as when a person knowingly, and without lawful authority places another person in a reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. Generally words, gestures or a communicated threat alone are not enough to constitute a reasonable apprehension. The definition of assault is obviously very vague, but I frequently use that to gain an advantage when defending my clients who have been charged with assault. Aggravated assault is more serious than a regular assault. An assault can be charged as an aggravated assault depending on where the offense took place, the status of employment of a victim, and whether a weapon was used.

Does An Alleged Victim Have To Show Injury For Assault Charges To Be Made?

An alleged victim does not have to show any injuries for any assault claims. In fact, it is the opposite. In an assault or an aggravated assault, there is no touching whatsoever. It is the apprehension of being touched. Therefore, if there were an actual touching or any physical contact, then the assault would become a battery, or an aggravated battery. Many people use the terms assault and battery interchangeably, or together. However, those offenses are very different. The real difference between the two is whether there is any physical contact.

What Factors Can Potentially Enhance An Assault Charge?

Assault can be upgraded to an aggravated assault in a variety of ways. First would be the location of the alleged assault. An assault that is on a public property, or an assault at an amusement or a sports venue can be charged as an aggravated assault. The second way for an assault to be upgraded to an aggravated assault has to do with the status or age of the victim. In other words, in the eyes of the law, it is more serious to commit assault against some people than others. For example, assault against individuals that are handicapped or are over sixty years of age, are considered aggravated assaults. In addition, the alleged victim’s job comes into play when determining if it should be charged as an aggravated offense. If the offense allegedly occurred while they were performing their official duties that also could cause an assault to become an aggravated assault.

For instance, teachers, any school employee, park district employees, sports officials and coaches, police, firefighters, EMTs, correctional institution employees, transit employees and special process servers all receive special consideration under the law. An assault upon any of these individuals could be upgraded to an aggravated assault. The third way that an assault can be upgraded to an aggravated assault is by use of any weapon. Under the law, the weapon must be a deadly weapon; deadly weapons may include firearms obviously, but also by statute include vehicles and air rifles. However, whether some weapons or objects would qualify as a deadly weapon under the statute is up to the judge or jury to decide. Finally, a simple assault could be upgraded to an aggravated assault if the person disguises himself or herself by wearing a hood, robe, or a mask in order to try to conceal their identity.

What Are Battery Charges Under Illinois Law?

A battery under Illinois law is when a person knowingly causes bodily harm, or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature to another person. Aggravated battery is different. Battery can be charged as an aggravated battery for a number of reasons. For example, the severity and the nature of the injuries, the status of the alleged victim, the age of the alleged victim, or the employment of an alleged victim can all cause a battery to become an aggravated battery case.

Also if a weapon or firearm is used in commission of a battery, that is a basis to upgrade it. For example, victims that are over sixty years old or under thirteen, if they are pregnant or physically or mentally disabled, that is a basis to upgrade to an aggravated battery. In addition, if the alleged victim is a teacher, or police, firefighter or EMT, correctional officer or medical personal, those are all situations, which could result in an upgrade to an aggravated battery charge.

For more information on Assault Charges In Illinois, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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