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March 2013 Archives

Illinois Self-Defense Laws

Someone who is charged with assault, battery, or even killing someone in Illinois may have a viable defense of self-defense justifying his actions.

Generally, someone may be justified to use force against another person to the extent the force is believed to be reasonably necessary to defend himself from an imminent threat of harm.

The use of force typically requires the person claiming self-defense to prove the following elements:

3 Potential Defenses to an Assault Charge

If you are charged with assault in Illinois, you could face very serious consequences. For an aggravated assault charge, for example, you could face up to five years in prison.

However, it can be difficult for prosecutors to prove assault. Just because you are charged with the crime does not necessarily mean that you'll serve time behind bars.

Instead, with the help of a Chicago criminal defense attorney, you could be exonerated, depending on the circumstances. Here's a look at some common defenses to an assault charge:

What Is Assault in Illinois?

A person commits an assault in Illinois when he knowingly engages in conduct that places the victim in reasonable apprehension of battery. In other words, someone can be charged with assault if he threatens or takes some action to put another person in reasonable fear of being physically attacked.

This can include brandishing a weapon, making a fist as if to strike someone, or simply telling another that you're about to hit her.

Keep in mind that physical contact is not necessary for the crime. So you don't actually need to throw the punch or even touch the victim to be charged with assault.

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter in Illinois?

Involuntary manslaughter in Illinois is the least severe of the homicide charges in the state.

Unlike murder charges, involuntary manslaughter involves unintentional killings. So while a defendant usually has an intent to kill the victim in a first or second degree murder case, when it comes to involuntary manslaughter, the killing is usually an accident or the result of a reckless act.

For example, someone who fires off a gun to celebrate July Fourth may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if the shooting accidentally kills a neighbor.