Illinois Interference with the Reporting of Domestic Violence

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/12-3.5

A person commits the offense of INTERFERENCE WITH THE REPORT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE when, after having committed an act of domestic violence, he or she knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent the victim or a witness from calling a 911 system, obtaining medical assistance or making a report to any law enforcement official.

In addition to the obvious prohibition against domestic violence, Illinois has a law in effect that prohibits the domestic violence offender from preventing the victim or a witness from reaching out to law enforcement or medical personnel in response to the violence.

In order for a person to be convicted, the state must prove that 1) the offender committed an act of domestic violence, 2) the victim or witness was reporting the act or seeking medical attention as a result of the act and; 3) the offender knowingly prevented or attempted to prevent the victim or witness from reporting the act or seeking medical attention.
Even the attempt to stop a victim from reaching out to appropriate agencies in response to domestic violence is prohibited and punishable under this law. Thus, if a domestic violence offender tries, unsuccessfully, to take away a phone from the victim who was in the process of reporting the abuse, the offender can be convicted for Interfering with the Report of Domestic Violence.

The Sentence

CLASS A MISDEMEANOR

  • Up to 364 days in jail
  • Fine of up to $2,500

Probation Possible? Yes

Supervision Possible? Yes

Note: If the incident of domestic violence is later shown to have been fabricated by the alleged victim, the charged individual should not be convicted with Interference with the Report of Domestic Violence. This makes sense in that if, for example, if Person A is trying to prevent Person B from calling the police to falsely report an act of domestic violence (Person B yelling to person A “I’m going to call the police and tell them you hit me!”); person A should not be guilty of, essentially, trying to prevent Person B from committing a crime (making a false police report). As with so many crimes, every situation and the context under which it happens is different, and therefore, many defenses to such a charge exist.

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