After an arrest for domestic battery, typically the police will release the offender upon payment of a small bond or signing a recognizance bond. The bond sheet is been provided to the person along with his other property. However, in some counties, the police will bring the person who was arrested before a judge for a bond hearing.
For instance, in Cook County, all persons who are arrested for domestic battery appear before the judge. At the time of writing this article, the typical bond for domestic battery cases in Cook County is 10% of $5,000 or higher. Not all other counties follow this practice. In fact, most of the suburban counties surrounding Chicago do not require the person who was arrested to post bond.
When the person is released from police custody, or from jail after a bond hearing, he receives a bond sheet. The bond sheet states all the terms and conditions that apply to that person when they are released.
This is where it is important to read the fine print.
Because a domestic battery offense assumes a domestic relationship between the offender and the complaining witness, there are special considerations for bond conditions. For example, the judge will typically review the facts of the case as provided by the prosecutor to determine what contact, if any, is appropriate between the offender and the complaining witness (most often a family member). If the defendant is released from the station, the police officer may make a determination as to what is appropriate based on what he knows about the incident and the relationship.
The bond most often will state that the defendant is to have no contact with the complaining witness. Alternatively, the judge or the police officer can set as a condition of bond that the offender shall have no contact for a period of 72 hours. Although it is not mandatory by law, Illinois statute does provide that in determining the terms and conditions of release, the judge should consider a 72-hour “cooling-off” period.
Many people do not know that if they make contact with the complaining witness during this time, in violation of the terms and conditions of bond, they can be charged an additional criminal offense.
Domestic battery is unique in the Illinois criminal code because a defendant may be charged with more crimes while out on bond. For example, making contact with a family member, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or child, in violation of a no contact order can result in a violation of bail bond charge. The penalties can include up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
Violation of bail bond is a Class A misdemeanor offense. It is found at 720 ILCS 5/32-10 in the criminal code. The law says the following:
Whoever, having been admitted to bail for appearance before any court of this State, while charged with a criminal offense in which the victim is a family or household member as defined in Article 112A of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 [725 ILCS 5/112A-1 et seq.], knowingly violates a condition of that release as set forth in Section 110-10, subsection (d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 [725 ILCS 5/110-10], commits a Class A misdemeanor.
State legislators created be offense of violation of bail bond because lawmakers were concerned that defendants were coercing or pressuring victims not to come to court and testify. In every county, the prosecutor takes contact between a defendant and the complaining witness very seriously. If the prosecutor has any information indicating that the defendant contacted a witness despite the no contact order, the prosecutor will seek to file a charge of violation of bail bond.
Be warned. Judges put people in jail for violation of bail bond.
The no contact provision of bond is enforced strictly against the defendant. This is the say that even where a third party relates a message, it is still a violation of bail bond. It does not matter that is made indirectly. If contact occurs, by whatever means, the defendant is charged.
This is why it is very important you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. An arrest for domestic battery really is not a simple matter of the witness not showing up in court.
A witness who fails to appear for a subpoena could also be arrested and brought to court. The judge can issue a warrant for the arrest of that witness and actually have them held in custody prior to trial. The warrant is called body attachment.
Many people assume that body attachments are rare. However, in many counties around the Chicago area, prosecutors are using the body attachment process more and more often. For example, in Kane and DuPage County the prosecutor’s use of the body attachment is commonplace.
It is in your interest to speak with a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not assume that you can guide yourself through a domestic violence matter without legal representation.