Assault charges in Illinois can result in sentences ranging from 30 days in jail to a 60-year prison term, depending on prior records and the type of assault charges. Any conviction can damage a reputation, lead to court expenses, fines, a loss of job opportunities, and more. The support of a reliable defense lawyer can help those wrongly accused of assault to avoid a negative trial outcome.
Self Defense Laws
Some assault charges arise from an event where the accused protected themselves or others. In Illinois, people can use force to defend themselves or others. The threat must be enough for someone to feel there was a reasonable risk of great bodily harm and physical means were the only way to stop the action.
Illinois also has a regulation called a castle doctrine. The law allows people to defend themselves and their private property without a duty to first retreat into their homes for protection. Someone charged with assault could use the doctrine to defend their actions if they acted with aggression while at home.
Mental Illness Protection
Mental illnesses can cause people to act in ways they typically would not. The laws of Illinois respect the rights of people with mental illnesses and protect them from unfair punishments. Defendants must prove mental illness for the court to accept the claim. Proof could include medical records, psychiatric screenings, or interviews with personal counselors or psychiatrists.
The result of the court accepting a mental illness defense can vary. The response could mean a guilty verdict, but with the individual not held criminally accountable for the incident. The extent of the mental illness, and the severity of the assault, will play a role in the court’s recommendations.
Proof of Mistaken Identity
Innocent people can face assault charges. Mistaken identities, misunderstandings, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to the charge. The law forces people to prove someone committed a crime rather than having a defendant prove they did not. An innocent person may think they have nothing to worry about, but they still must show the inaccuracies of the claims against them.
Proof of being elsewhere during the crime is an effective defense. Witnesses can help prove a defendant was not at the crime scene. Security cameras record surveillance footage around buildings, streets, traffic lights, and other places. A defendant can use the dated and time-stamped footage from such cameras to prove their whereabouts.
Mobile phone records can also help to show if a defendant was not where an assault occurred. Receipts, event photographs or videos, and social media posts or texts can reveal where people were and what they were doing when a crime happened. Employee logs from a workplace can also show the accused could not have committed the crime.
Possibilities of False Accusations
Someone can use an assault claim to harass another person. Defendants can fight a false charge of assault with the same evidence listed above. Alibis, photos, and more can show the individual accused of the crime was not present. Witness testimony can also show if the accuser was the actual aggressor.
Additional proof, like texts or other communications from the accuser, could show an intention on the part of the accuser to cause problems for the defendant. A history, by the accuser, of filing false claims or harassment towards the defendant could damage the credibility of the assault charges.
A seemingly minor disagreement can become a life-changing complication for people charged with assault. Criminal charges do not need to lead to a conviction, but innocence alone might not be enough. People need to protect themselves. At Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.