What Does it Mean to be Guilty of Interfering with the Reporting of a Domestic Battery?

Domestic-BatteryYou can be charged with Interfering with the Reporting of a Domestic Battery when you prevent a family member from making a call to report a Domestic Battery incident.  You can also be charged with Interfering with the Reporting of a Domestic Violence charge if you interfere with a family member who is reporting the incident to the police.  It is very common to see this charge added to a criminal Domestic Battery charge.

Let’s talk a little about how charges like this usually come about.

The police are called to the scene of a report of a Domestic Battery.  Basically, you can be charged with a Domestic Battery when you make physical contact with a family member.  What the law considers to be a family member is defined rather broadly in Illinois.  A current or past boyfriend or girlfriend is considered a family member under Illinois Domestic Battery law.  If the police are convinced that you made contact with a family member that resulted in physical harm to that family member you can be arrested and charged with a Domestic Battery.  But you don’t have to injure the family member to be charged with a Domestic Battery.  You can be charged with a Domestic Battery if the contact that was made was of an insulting or provoking nature.  If the police are convinced that any of these two types of contact occurred, you can be arrested and charged with a Domestic Battery.  If the police determine you did something to prevent the family member from calling the police, or 911, you can be charged with Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence.  An example would be if you took the phone away from the victim, or unplugged the phone or removed the battery from a cell phone resulting in the inability to make a 911 call.   You don’t have to actually prevent the person from calling 911 or the police.  Simply attempting to prevent them from calling the authorities can make you guilty of this crime.  You can also be guilty of Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence if you prevent, or attempt to prevent, a victim from obtaining medical assistance or from making any report to any law enforcement official.  If the police arrive and you threaten the victim with physical harm if they tell the police the truth, that can be considered Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence.

In my 25 years of handling Domestic Battery cases, I have seen that it is very common to be charged with Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence when someone is charged with a Domestic Battery.  The most common examples are when someone takes the victim’s cell phone and hides it from them.  I have seen cases where people have taken batteries out of cell phones and ripped phones off of the wall in an attempt to prevent the victim from calling the police or 9-1-1.  I have seen cases where victims are trying to call the police and the spouse is interrupting the call by yanking the phone out of their hand or yelling and screaming to prevent the reporting of the Domestic Violence incident.

Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence is a class A misdemeanor in Illinois.  It carries a potential penalty of up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of up to $2,500.

To be guilty of Interfering with the reporting of Domestic Violence, the state has to prove that you intended to Interfere with the Reporting of a Domestic Battery.  Most Domestic Battery situations are chaotic and full of emotion.  The way to defend against charges like this is to attack the state’s case and show that the intent was not to prevent the reporting of a domestic battery but something less than what the state is claiming.  The chaotic circumstances surrounding a Domestic Battery can make it difficult for the state to prove what the intent was and can make it possible for an experienced Domestic Battery lawyer to win a case involving Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence.

James Dimeas he is a nationally-recognized, award-winning Domestic Battery attorney. James Dimeas has spent the past 25 years handling Domestic Battery cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, and Lake County. James Dimeas has been recognized as a “Best DUI Attorney.” Expertise has named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys have recognized James Dimeas as a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” The National Trial Lawyers have named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any attorney in the United States.

If you are being charged with a Domestic Battery or with Interfering with the Reporting of a Domestic Battery, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.

Additional Resources:

Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.5.

Illinois Domestic Violence Act, 750 ILCS 60.   

Additional Blogs:

Will I Be Charged with a Domestic Battery if I Slap My Child?, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, April 25, 2017.   

What’s the Difference Between a Civil Order of Protection and a Criminal Order of Protection?, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, May 30, 2017.