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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Default Bar Fight Charges and Self-Defense

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Illinois

    Hello All,

    I'm currently working on a crime mystery novel, which takes place in Chicago, Illinois. In my book, there's a situation that happened years ago where a character was involved in a bar fight. The character comes from a very influential family. Due to the fight, the other party involved became paralyzed and died a year later from his injuries. There were witnesses that stated the other party started the fight. My character was only defending himself. Here are my questions:

    1) I'm assuming this is considered Aggravated Assault, which is a felony. Can the prosecution drop the charges due to self-defense?
    2) If the charges are dropped, is there still a criminal record of the occurrence?
    3) If there is still a criminal record, can the record be expunged?
    4) Can a civil case be brought against my character?

    Thanks for any and all information.
    Bea

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    16,826

    Default Re: Bar Fight - Questions Regarding a Crime Mystery Novel

    I'm an author as well, so I'll give you some advice. Learn how to do some basic research, but frankly, even google would have given the answer likely.

    If you're going to write about crime, you should learn your way around the criminal statutes of the setting. The Illinois criminal statutes are on the General Assembly's web site (www.ilga.gov) in a body of law called the Illinois Compiled Statutes (abbreviations ILCS). Crimes are in 720 ILCS. Here's the section on assualt: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs...eqEnd=23000000

    Illinois matches the general legal principal that assault it the THREAT (not all states do however) of bodily harm. Note there are several ways assault rises to aggravation. The one that applies to you is that this occured in a place of public accomodation (the bar).

    The actual crime of INJURING someone is called battery and yes in Illinois there's an Aggrevated Battery which involves serious injury.

    Then you note that the person died from the injuries. Now you've gone beyond assualt and battery. We have a word for it HOMICIDE. This includes Murder and Manslaughter. It's probably manslaughter given the circumstances.

    There's also a principle called the "FELONY-MURDER" rule. If the person causes a death of another while engaging in a felony, then the person has commited murder. There's a similar MISDEMEANOR-MANSLAUGHTER rule that sys if you cause a death while committing a misdemeanor, you are guilty of manslaughter.

    The prosecution is free to dropt he charges for whatever reason they want. An expectation that the person acted in self defense would ceratinly fit. Otherwise you can assert that as a defense at trial. Here's the law: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs...=072000050K7-1

    There will be a record of the arrest. It is a public record. Generally, arrests that do not result in convictions don't tend to count as "criminal records" in this day and age, but someone doing research would definitely find a record of the arrest. If the person was not found guilty of this crime and never was convicted of antyhing else, there is an expungement proceedure in Illinois to "seal" that record. That gets it out of the public view (though the damage may already be done), but doesn't keep law enforcement and certain other government functions from seeing it.

    Just because charges are dropped, that he was found not guilty, or that he alleges self defense, doesn't mean he can't be sued. Just think of the Ron Goldman/OJ Simpson case. The state (albeit, California, not Illinois) was not able to show beyond a reasonable doubt that OJ killed Goldman. However, the stadards in a civil case are not "beyond a reasonable doubt" only a preponderance of the evidence to support the plaintiffs claim. Goldman's family won a substantial judgment against Simpson.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    14,271

    Default Re: Bar Fight - Questions Regarding a Crime Mystery Novel

    1) I'm assuming this is considered Aggravated Assault, which is a felony. Can the prosecution drop the charges due to self-defense?
    The prosecution has that option.

    2) If the charges are dropped, is there still a criminal record of the occurrence?
    Yes.

    3) If there is still a criminal record, can the record be expunged?
    Maybe.

    4) Can a civil case be brought against my character?
    Of course.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    2

    Default Re: Bar Fight - Questions Regarding a Crime Mystery Novel

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    The prosecution has that option.


    Yes.


    Maybe.


    Of course.
    Thanks for the direct responses.

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