Arrested teenager with handcuffsThis is the next post in a series of articles addressing defending against assault and battery charges in Peoria, Illinois. The previous article discussed how the presence or use of a weapon during an assault and battery may lead to elevated criminal penalties and potentially to additional criminal charges. In light of the consequences when a weapon is involved, it is imperative to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney to protect your interests. This post will provide an overview of what one can expect when defending against an assault and battery charge at trial. Facing a trial can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Experienced counsel can help you navigate and understand the process. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

In Illinois, if a defendant is charged with misdemeanor assault and battery, the case will be heard at a bench trial, whereby the judge will hear the case and issue a verdict at the conclusion of the proceeding. If the defendant is charged with a felony, then a jury will be convened for the trial. The jury is selected from a “pool” of individuals. During the selection process, the prosecutor and defense attorney will each have the ability to challenge and strike a certain number of potential jurors. This allows each side to remove those jurors whom they feel may not be unbiased. It is important to note that jurors may not be removed on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or other protected category. Next, in either a bench or jury trial, the prosecution and defense will make their respective opening statements. Opening statements are an opportunity to provide an overview of the main elements of each party’s case. The prosecution will then present its witnesses and evidence. The defense will have the same opportunity. Both sides may cross-examine the witnesses presented by the other. The prosecution may present additional information to rebut evidence presented by the defense. Next, each attorney will present their closing statements. Once the process is complete the judge or jury, as applicable, will deliberate and issue a verdict.

As in any trial, the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense attorney will be very fact specific. In most assault and battery trials, the defendant will be claiming either self-defense or innocence of the charge. Given the infinite possibilities for the types of evidence that may come into play to assert these defenses, it is important to retain a criminal attorney knowledgeable about the rules of evidence. Engaging a defense attorney as soon as possible after the event will help ensure that witnesses and other evidence can be preserved and gathered in support of your defense. Experienced defense counsel will understand how to effectively challenge the prosecution’s case. Furthermore, a criminal attorney with trial experience will understand how to communicate the evidence in a clear and concise way to the judge or jury on the defendant’s behalf.

If you have been charged with assault and battery and are facing trial, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. I also represent clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.