Assault and Battery Charges in Illinois

assault and battery, violent crime, Illinois criminal defense lawyerFacing criminal charges can be frightening for anyone. Being charged with a crime that you are not sure you understand can be virtually overwhelming. For many people, their only exposure to the criminal justice system is what they see on the news or read in the newspaper, which can lead to confusion over the definition of particular offenses and crimes. This is particularly true of charges that are frequently related and brought in conjunction with one another, such as assault and battery. If you have been charged with either or both of these offenses, it is critical that you learn the difference between them.


While many may think they know what the charge of assault encompasses, they are often surprised to learn the actual legal definition. Under Illinois law, assault is any conduct that places another person “in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” Assault could be as simple as throwing a punch or as aggravated as brandishing or discharging a firearm. It is important to keep in mind that there no requirement of injury to justify assault charges, as charges are based on the victim’s reasonable apprehension.

Assault is prosecuted as a Class C misdemeanor unless factors exist that elevates the charge to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case.


The legal definition of assault includes a reference to battery, which makes understanding battery even more important for those facing charges. Battery is defined as unlawful causing of bodily harm to another person, or making “physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature.” While throwing a punch may constitute assault, landing the punch and causing injury would constitute battery. In addition, since the secondary definition of the offense includes contact that is provocative or insulting, bodily injury may not be required to file charges. A poke in the chest or a slap across the face may be considered insulting or provoking.

At its most basic, battery is a Class A misdemeanor, but the nature of a resulting injury, the status of the victim, or the use of weapon may lead to charges of aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is, at minimum, a Class 3 felony and may be elevated all the way up to a Class X felony, based on the facts of the case.

If you have been charged with assault, battery, or any other type of violent crime, you need the help of a qualified lawyer. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights at Cosley Law Office. We will review your case and work with you in understanding your options under the law. Call today and put our team of skilled professionals on your side.

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