The Crime of Assault in Illinois

Even though most people use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably, the reality is that assault and battery are two different criminal offenses. In Illinois, for a person to be found guilty of assault, there does not need to be proof of physical contact of a provoking or harmful nature. On the other hand, there needs to be proof of physical contact of a harmful or provoking nature for someone to be convicted of battery. In Illinois, a person can be convicted of assault based on just words. Below is more about the crime of assault in Illinois.

The Criminal Offense of Assault in Illinois

According to 720 ILCS 5/12-1, an individual commits the offense of assault when, without legal authority, they knowingly engage in conduct that puts another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. According to Illinois law, an individual does not have to cause actual harm to the victim for them to be charged with assault. 

Penalties for Assault in Illinois

In Illinois, the crime of assault is considered a Class C misdemeanor. If an individual is convicted of assault in Illinois, they could be put in jail for up to 30 days and asked to pay $1,500 in criminal fines. However, the court may decide to order a 24-month sentence of probation instead. 

According to Illinois law, in addition to imposing criminal penalties, the court is required to order an individual guilty of assault to perform community service for at least 30 hours, as long as community service is available in the jurisdiction and is approved and funded by the county board of the county where the crime was committed. 

Aggravated Assault

An assault charge can turn into an aggravated assault charge in some cases. The offense of aggravated assault is codified in 720 ILCS 5/12-2. Firstly, if an individual commits an assault against a person who is on or about a public way, public property, a sports venue, a public place of accommodation, or a place of worship, they are guilty of aggravated assault. 

Secondly, an individual commits an aggravated assault, when in committing an assault, they know the victim to be, among others, any of the following; 

  • An individual with a disability or aged 60 or above
  • A teacher or school employee on school grounds
  • A correctional officer or probation officer 
  • A correctional institution employee
  • An employee of the state of Illinois
  • A transit employee performing their official duties 

Thirdly, an individual commits aggravated assault when they use a firearm, deadly weapon, or motor vehicle to complete the offense of assault. A person also commits aggravated assault when they wear a mask, hood, or robe to hide their identity or record the offense for future dissemination.

According to Illinois law, aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor in most cases. In other cases, the offense of aggravated assault can be a Class 4 felony or a Class 3 felony. In Illinois, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of up to one year. However, probation of up to 24 months is available for this type of offense. On the other hand, a Class 4 felony can attract a jail term of up to three years, and a Class 3 felony can attract a jail term of up to five years. 

Contact David Freidberg for Legal Help

If you are facing assault or aggravated charges in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, the skilled Chicago-based criminal defense lawyer, David Freidberg, may be able to help you. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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