Thursday, October 13, 2011

“I HIT A COP!:” AGGRAVATED ASSAULT OR AGGRAVATED BATTERY TO AN OFFICER IN ILLINOIS

You must have been really drunk because you don’t remember what happened. But apparently, you went berserk and hit a police officer. The officer even ended up in the emergency room. Now, you are charged with aggravated battery.

What is the law? What can you do?

In Illinois, you can be charged with aggravated assault if you knowingly cause a police officer to reasonably fear that you are going to cause bodily harm while the officer is performing their duties. For example, maybe you threatened to hit the officer or you pointed a gun at them. Aggravated assault is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If you used a gun, blackjack, shotgun or other weapon in threatening the officer, you can be charged with a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in jail.

If you actually harm the officer or make contact of an insulting nature such as grabbing at them, you can be charged with aggravated battery. If you did not cause great bodily harm, disfigurement or permanent disability, the charge is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. If the police officer was seriously harmed, you can face a Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4 to 15 years. If you hurt the officer while shooting a gun, you are now eligible for a Class X felony, with a mandatory minimum prison term of 15 years. If you used a machine gun, the minimum prison term increases to 20 years.

As you can imagine, prosecutors and judges take attacks on police officers very seriously, but your situation may not be hopeless.

If you are charged with aggravated assault or aggravated battery to an officer, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with other crimes, the State must still prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can help review your options for a defense. For example, Illinois law requires that you knew the person was an officer and that they were engaged in their official duties. If the officer was off duty or in plain clothes, you may have a defense.

Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced attorney, familiar with the judge and prosecutors, may be able to negotiate a more beneficial plea bargain than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)