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Whether you, a friend or a loved one made a mistake, used improper judgment or have been falsely accused of a domestic battery, Illinois Criminal Defense lawyer Debbie Cohen is prepared to stand up for you. The consequences of a criminal disposition for a domestic violence charge can affect your professional and personal life and extend well beyond fines and jail time. Having a highly respected, tough & experienced attorney by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
As a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Debbie Cohen has the experience needed to defend your domestic violence case and knows what approach is necessary to present the strongest argument in your favor. Contact Evanston Criminal Defense Attorney Debbie Cohen to fight for you.
In Illinois, domestic battery is a criminal offense that involves bodily harm caused to any family or household member without legal justification. (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2). You can be charged with domestic battery if the victim is: a family member related by blood (i.e. mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin), a girlfriend or boyfriend (regardless if you live together), a person with whom you had a child with (regardless if you are still romantically involved), a spouse or ex-spouse, a roommate or a child or step-child.
Domestic battery is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor where the judge can sentence you up to a year of imprisonment and a fine you up to $2,500. However, if you have a prior domestic battery conviction or other specified charges, the charge may be considered a felony.
It is critical to understand that the Illinois court system takes domestic battery charges very seriously and while most misdemeanors allow for a sentence of court supervision (not a criminal conviction), domestic battery requires a mandatory conviction. Therefore, if you are found guilty or plead guilty to domestic battery (even with no criminal background), you will receive a conviction that will permanently stay on your public record.
The Illinois Legislature created a civil remedy requiring a Respondent (the person accused of a domestic battery) to stay away from the Petitioner (the person who filed the battery charge) called an “Order of Protection”. Orders of Protection are oftentimes referred to as “Restraining orders”. Orders of Protection (OP) prohibit an individual to conduct certain types of contact or actions with another person.
Illinois provides for three types of Orders of Protection: (1) Emergency Orders, (2) Interim Orders and (3) Plenary Orders. A judge may enter an Emergency Order of Protection to a Petitioner, without the Respondent’s knowledge or presence. In this situation, the Petitioner swears to the Court that he/she has been the victim of stalking or domestic violence and the Judge determines if there is enough merit to grant the Emergency OP. Once an Emergency Order of Protection is issued, the Respondent will be served with a copy of the order and notified that he/she needs to respond and appear at the next court date. At the next court date, the judge typically gives the Respondent time to hire an attorney to represent him/her on the OP and determine any defenses. During this time, the judge oftentime issues one or more “Interim Orders of Protection”, which gives the Petitioner an additional 30 days of protection until the next court date. Once the judge hears all the matters, the judge will decide whether to enter an “Plenary Order of Protection”, which can last for up to two years or more in certain situations.
Since Orders of Protection are civil in nature, the burden of proof is different and lower than the burden of proof in criminal matters. In criminal charges, the State’s burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. For a Petitioner to obtain a Plenary Order of Protection (can extend to up to two years), the Petitioner only needs to establish the need for an OP by a “preponderance of the evidence”.
Order of Protection orders can cause life altering issues, such as the loss in: ability to spend time with your kids, return to your home, frequent your favorite restaurant/bar, and go about your business in everyday typical life. Typically, the Court will order that a Respondent refrain from committing the following acts towards the Petitioner and other named protected parties: harassment, neglect, physical abuse, exploitation, intimidation, stalking, and interference with personal liberty. Additionally, the Respondent is often ordered to refrain from any contact with the Petitioner in any manner including text messaging, phone calls, email, social media, and through third parties.
As a former Cook County ASA who prosecuted Domestic Violence charges, Ms. Cohen not only brings you 20 years of experience, but also the care, skill and judgment in beating your domestic violence charge. Protect yourself and do not allow one mistake, one moment of bad judgment, or an unsubstantiated charge to haunt you for the rest of your life. Contact Evanston domestic violence attorney Debbie Cohen now so she can begin preparing your defense and fight for you.