Q: Does the victim press charges in domestic battery cases?
A: In domestic battery cases, the state presses charges. If a domestic battery call is made, police will arrest the accused and press charges whether or not the victim wants charges pressed.
Q: Can bond for a domestic battery charge be posted at the police station?
A: No. Unlike other misdemeanor charges, defendants in domestic battery cases must appear before a judge for the bond hearing. This may occur the following morning after arrest, or may take an additional day. At this bond hearing, the only issues determined are the bond, conditions on the bond and whether an order of protection will be issued.
Q: How is bond determined for a domestic battery case?
A: The amount of the bond is based on the defendant’s criminal record, the seriousness of the charge, and mitigating factors introduced by the defense.
Q: What is bond?
A: In order to be released from jail to await a future court appearance, defendants pay bail to guarantee their appearance. If they do not appear, they forfeit the bail. Many defendants do not have the funds to pay the set bail. Illinois law prohibits the operation of commercial bail bond companies. Defendants are still able to get released on bail, but they must use a government agency. In order to obtain the bail, defendants must pay a portion of the bail or use collateral such as real estate. Usually defendants are expected to pay 10% of the set bail. The bond is a legal document guaranteeing that the defendant will appear as stated.
Q: What is the average bond for a domestic battery charge in Illinois?
A: In Cook County the average bond is 10% of $5,000. Typically a bond in a domestic battery case can range from 10% of $1,000 to 10% of $10,000. The bond is determined by the judge on a case by case basis. As part of the bond in a domestic battery case, the defendant is required to stay away from the victim for 72 hours. Additional requirements may be a part of the bond, for instance, the defendant may not be allowed to possess a firearm.
Q: What is the penalty for violating the bond by contacting the victim before the 72 hours are completed?
A: Judges take violations of bail bonds very seriously, especially in cases of domestic violence where the defendant contacts the victim before the “cooling off” period is over. Violation of the bail bond is a Class A misdemeanor and can be sentenced up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Q: What is an order of protection?
A: If the victim fears for safety from the defendant, she/he may request an order of protection. The order of protection prohibits the defendant from having any contact with the victim and the victim’s dependents for a set period of time. Additionally, the victim can ask for possession of the house, cars, custody of minor children, and to restrict visitation of minor children.
Q: What happens at the status hearing?
A: After the bond hearing, the next hearing will be the status hearing. For this hearing, the state will subpoena the victim to testify. If the victim chooses not to attend the hearing, there is a possibility that the charges may be dismissed. Since the state presses the charges, they may still wish to continue if the charges are serious and if other evidence exists, such as witnesses, physical evidence, or pictures of the injuries.
Q: If the victim testifies, will the case go to trial?
A: If the victim testifies, the case may go to trial. The defendant may also choose to have his/her attorney negotiate with the prosecution for a plea bargain. This means the defendant may choose to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Q: Do I need an attorney if I am charged with domestic battery?
A: Yes. It is to your benefit to have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side whenever you are charged with a crime. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and advice to help you with your charges. No case is the same; contact Dennis Dwyer to learn how he would approach your case. Chicago criminal defense attorney Dennis Dwyer is a capable and determined criminal defense attorney. Contact him today for help with your domestic battery charge.