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IL criminal lawyerThere is no doubt that domestic violence is a real concern in the Chicago area. On average, more than 500 people call domestic violence hotlines every day in the Chicago area.

The state of Illinois takes domestic battery and family violence very seriously. Individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses often face lengthy prison sentences and other serious consequences. Sadly, some people use Illinois’s strict policies to “punish” or get revenge on others by reporting false accusations of domestic violence.

If you or a loved one were accused of domestic violence by a current or former romantic partner, household member, or family member, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away for personalized legal guidance.

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IL criminal lawyerFebruary is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, which brings to light domestic abuse issues. This past year has been difficult for many people due to the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Unfortunately, this hardship has led to more reports of domestic violence in U.S. households. Spouses or romantic partners who have lost relatives to the virus or who are facing financial crisis due to a job loss may take out their anger and frustrations on each other. Arguments are normal within relationships, but when disputes turn to physical altercations, criminal charges can be filed. In some cases, however, a person may be falsely accused of abuse by a family or household member. If you are facing charges of domestic violence in Illinois, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you avoid a conviction.

Accusations of Violence

Uncertain and trying times like what Americans experienced in 2020 after the coronavirus spread throughout the country can take their toll on even the most optimistic people. The stress of being quarantined can put stress on any couple, leading to allegations of domestic violence, which is a crime in Illinois. It is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving a spouse or partner. Anyone who hits, kicks, chokes, harasses, threatens, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member has committed this offense. Under Illinois law, family or household members are considered those related by blood or people who are married or were married at one time.

Alleged acts of domestic abuse can take any of the following forms:

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IL defense lawyerThe first thing people think of when they hear the phrase “domestic violence” is often a spouse abusing their partner. However, it is just as common for children under the age of 18 to be victims of the abuse or neglect. Minors can be affected in a number of ways by not only being a victim of domestic violence, but also if they are a witness to the abuse or neglect. Side effects vary based on the age of the minor, but some include:

  • Increased crying or signs of terror such as hiding;
  • Bed-wetting or thumb-sucking;
  • Drop of self-esteem or feelings of guilt;
  • Trouble in school or becoming anti-social;
  • Less participation in activities;
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse;
  • Depression or behavior changes; and
  • Mimicking the abusive behavior.

As with adults in a domestic violence case, an order of protection can be ordered to keep the abuser away from any minor in an abusive situation. However, it is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to issue an order of protection.

How the Court Handles Cases of Domestic Violence of a Minor

In the state of Illinois, there are several steps to determine whether a child should be allowed time with a person accused of domestic abuse. After an order of protection goes into effect, the court will:

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IL defense lawyerDomestic violence is a crime that is taken very seriously and has severe consequences for those who commit it. Though the type of punishments that offenders of domestic violence get are deserved, the extremely personal nature of the crime makes it difficult for those who are falsely accused to clear their name. In the state of Illinois, police officers are required to arrest a person if the officer has reason to believe that they have committed an act of abuse or neglect. Even if the officer makes no arrest during a domestic violence call, they must always fill out a police report with the alleged victim and the alleged suspect’s information and statements. If a person decides to file an order of protection against someone, this means they are telling the court that they have been abused and wish to seek charges against the abuser.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Though different states may have different definitions of domestic violence, Illinois defines domestic violence as any act of “abuse” perpetrated by a “family or household member.” An act of abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation;
  • Interference with personal liberty; or
  • Willful deprivation.

Family or household members can include:

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Chicago criminal defense attorneyAs it perhaps ought to be, most people believe the accuser when charges of domestic violence are brought against a person. By not doing so, there is a risk of sanctioning significant harm to innocent victims. However, there are occasions when such charges are false, most often brought to attempt to impugn one’s character or otherwise take an opportunity away from someone. If you have been drawn into this unfortunate situation, it is vital that you take steps as soon as possible to attempt to clear your name.

Potentially Serious Consequences

Domestic violence in Illinois is defined very widely, encompassing “physical abuse, harassment … interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation,” and it applies not only to spouses but also to other household members. “Household members” include a diverse group of individuals such as current and former spouses and in-laws, as well as roommates, stepparents or stepchildren, and dependents including disabled family members. This wide net can assist true victims, but it can also make it easier for false accusations to be levied.

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