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.
Aggravating Circumstances for Assault
There are several factors that can enhance an assault charge to aggravated assault. These include:
- Location. When an assault is committed in a public place like a street, public property, or sports venue, it can be considered an aggravated assault.
- The status of the victim. Aggravated assaults can include assaults committed against a physically handicapped person, a person over 60, a teacher or school employee at school, peace officers, correctional officers, state employees, and other specifically enumerated persons.
- The use of weapons. An assault committed with a firearm, or even using your motor vehicle to threaten another, can result in an aggravated assault charge.
An assault is generally considered a Class C misdemeanor. Someone convicted of the crime can face up to 30 days in jail, a possible $1,500 fine, and up to 120 hours of community service.
However, if there are aggravating circumstances, someone may be charged with a felony for the assault. In that case, someone could face up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine for the most serious aggravated assault charge.
Defenses to Assault
Common defenses to assault can include self defense, defense to others, or defense of property. In all of these cases, you are assaulting another as a protective measure.
This means you will have to show that your assault was justified based on the actions of the victim. That's why it may be best to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help collect evidence and stand up for your rights.